Police slam checkstop warning
Drunk drivers, speeders can use locally made app to avoid detection
‘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
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.”