Po­lice slam check­stop warn­ing

Drunk driv­ers, speed­ers can use lo­cally made app to avoid de­tec­tion

Winnipeg Free Press - - CITY BUSINESS - KEVIN ROLLASON [email protected]­ress.mb.ca

‘I’d like to know how the cre­ator of the app would feel if a loved one was killed...’

— Win­nipeg po­lice Insp. Gord Spado, on how TrapSpy could help a drunk driver stay on the road

LO­CALLY cre­ated app, which can po­ten­tially warn drunk driv­ers where po­lice check­stops are lo­cated, is be­ing slammed by Win­nipeg law en­force­ment and Man­i­toba Pub­lic In­sur­ance.

Both po­lice and the prov­ince’s ve­hi­cle in­surer say TrapSpy could help in­tox­i­cated driv­ers avoid au­thor­i­ties, leav­ing them on the road and in­creas­ing chances of a deadly col­li­sion.

“They are cre­at­ing dan­ger on the road,” Insp. Gord Spado of the Win­nipeg Po­lice Ser­vice’s traf­fic divi­sion said Fri­day.

“It is keep­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ers on the road. If I am driv­ing and I re­port a check­stop lo­ca­tion and it causes a mo­torist to take a dif­fer­ent way and they hit a kid, how would I feel if I caused that per­son to take an­other route?”

MPI spokesman Brian Smi­ley said thou­sands of Cana­di­ans die each year due to al­co­hol-re­lated col­li­sions.

“By alert­ing peo­ple who have been drink­ing, they could go on and kill some­body on the road­way be­cause they were alerted,” Smi­ley said.

“I’d like to know how the cre­ator of the app would feel if a loved one was killed be­cause some­body was able to drive around a check­stop be­cause of their app?”

The com­pany that cre­ated TrapSpy says the app gives a driver au­dio alerts “for red light cam­eras, most photo radar zones and many other fre­quent po­lice traps as you drive.”

Its data is ad­justed by users who anony­mously re­port what they see while driv­ing.

“TrapSpy is a tool for avoid­ing traf­fic tick­ets,” ac­cord­ing to the TrapSpy Face­book web­page.

“TrapSpy is your de­fense against pesky traf­fic tick­ets.”

The com­pany could not be reached for com­ment.

Spado warned, how­ever, there would be many times the app wouldn’t work for driv­ers.

“We move our check­stops around,” he said.

“On cold nights, we can’t be out there for four hours or more — we’re hu­man, too. One-and-a-half hours is pretty well all we can do.

“So some­body might say we’re one place when we’re wrap­ping up 10 min­utes later, and then we are some­where

A(sic) else.”

Todd Dube, of WiseUp Win­nipeg — a pub­lic ad­vo­cacy group chal­leng­ing the use of photo en­force­ment in the city — said while they sup­port po­lice tack­ling im­paired and dis­tracted driv­ers, mo­torists tell them po­lice look for other vi­o­la­tions when they are pulled over at a check­stop.

“Driv­ers are ex­it­ing with, in some cases, a hand­ful of ex­pen­sive non­mov­ing vi­o­la­tions such as tire-tread depth, head­light align­ment, etc.,” Dube said.

“And, with Man­i­toba hav­ing fine amounts 250 per cent higher than the av­er­age of all other prov­inces, it’s easy to un­der­stand why mo­torists ap­pre­ci­ate the

“To us, TrapSpy is no dif­fer­ent than WiseUp Win­nipeg. It ex­ists to draw aware­ness to the en­force­ment abuses that Win­nipeg is in­creas­ingly known for.”

How­ever, Spado dis­puted those claims, say­ing 5,231 ve­hi­cles were lo­ca­tion an­nounce­ments. pulled over in 2017, with 43 im­paired driv­ing ar­rests, and only 115 traf­fic tick­ets handed out.

“We’re not do­ing ve­hi­cle in­spec­tions on head­lights or tire treads, but if we find some­one is a sus­pended driver, we can’t turn a blind eye.”

BORIS MINKEVICH / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

TREVOR HAGAN / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

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