The more primitive version was called “Fuzz Busters, ” but now Waze, an app that alerts drivers to traffic accidents, construction zones and the presence of police, is causing a fuss among law enforcement officials.
Old fashioned radar detectors are now obsolete as the app, developed by the Israeli start-up Waze Mobile, and acquired by Google for $1.3 billion in 2013, allows drivers to be interactive and to inform each other about possible problems with traffic in a given area. This might seem to be a boon when it comes to safety and efficient driving, but there are several issues the police are worried about: speeding and targeting officers.
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If a driver uses Waze, he or she may feel it is possible to drive at any speed as long as the app does not detect the presence of cops. Another concerning issue is that the app might enable disgruntled citizens to ambush police officers.
“It’s kind of scary, really, ” Marcoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl told KSDK.com, “You have to think about ambushes, and officers get ambushed every day … (with Waze) somebody can ambush you a lot easier.” The National Sheriffs’ Association has called for Waze to pull its app, but it is uncertain how much teeth this declaration will have. Waze, originally an Israeli start-up, says in its license agreement, “You’re about to join the first network of drivers working together to build and share real-time road intelligence.”