App sharing checkstop locations 'creating more danger on the roadway,' say Winnipeg police
As the Winnipeg Police Service ramps up efforts to crack down on impaired drivers this holiday season, a recently launched app is coming under fire for giving away check stop locations.
The app is one of the latest ways drivers can find out where photo radar vehicles and police are positioned throughout the city.
Sharing and posting the information about check stops may not be illegal but officers say it sends the wrong message.
"In one respect people are potentially helping others commit criminal offences, but on the other hand it's awareness that we're out there and that we are taking enforcement action,” said Insp. Gord Spado with the service’s traffic division. “I don’t think people have really thought about the implications. They’re creating more danger on the roadway.”
In a Facebook message to CTV News the app in question, TrapSpy, which launched in Winnipeg this past spring, said the app allows drivers to search photo radar locations and cell phone traps.
The developers and operators of the app say it shares check stop locations in order to help people avoid tickets for traffic violations not related to impaired driving.
"Understand we do not support or advocate drunk driving,” the message reads. “In fact, we've stated publicly if the only tickets check stops handed out were alcohol related, we'd remove the check stop reporting feature from the app."
During the 2017 check stop program Winnipeg police pulled over more than 5200 vehicles, made 43 arrests related to impaired driving and issued 115 traffic tickets.
Spado said officers can’t turn a blind eye to other traffic violations observed during check stops.
Winnipegger Laurie Ellwood said no matter what the reason it’s wrong to share check stop locations.
"You don't drink and drive and if you start telling people they're just going to be circumventing the check stop and I don't think that's good at all," said Ellwood.
2017 Winnipeg Police Service check stop statistics
- 5231 vehicles stopped
- 43 impaired driving arrests
- 12 other arrests
- 115 traffic tickets (Source: Winnipeg Police Service)