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Twitter, iPhone Apps Up Ante On DUI Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints traditionally have a way of sneaking up on drivers, appearing up ahead only after it's too late to turn around. But the past 15 or so years of the Internet have proven that technology is much more nimble than even the most tricked-out police cruiser.

Now the mobile Internet, made ubiquitous by the recent explosion in Web-enabled smart phones, has allowed motorists to know where the checkpoints are well in advance.

An article about the use of Twitter, text messages and at least one iPhone application to avoid sobriety checkpoints appeared in The Sacramento Bee but also applies to motorists in Chicago and the rest of the country. Young drivers are most likely to use such tech tools, which is what has some public-safety officials concerned.

A spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety quoted in the article told reporters that he has heard "a lot of stories" about young drivers using high-tech methods to avoid DUI arrests, but that they are the ones most in need of such policing:

"Young people continue to be the most dangerous drivers. They will continue to drink and drive until they have families and realize they have something to lose."

With Twitter and the text messaging function on a mobile phone, for example, young clubgoers can get a heads-up on the locations of sobriety checkpoints or even individual police activity before they get into their cars. It's really nothing more than quick, efficient communication.

One iPhone application called "Buzzin" is designed specifically for identifying checkpoints within a 20-mile radius, which it plots on a map using GPS. Don't ask us to provide a link to the app download site, but here's a scathing review (The Miami Hurricane).