BlackBerry owner to remove drunk-driving phone applications

The maker of the BlackBerry line of smartphones has agreed to remove applications that assist drivers in evading DUI checkpoints after pressure from Senate Democrats. 

Research in Motion said it would comply by Wednesday with a request from Senate Democrats that it get rid of the application. Democrats who had pressed for the action quickly hailed the move.

“Drunk drivers will soon have one less tool to evade law enforcement and endanger our friends and families,” said Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement. 

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“We appreciate RIM’s immediate reply and urge the other smartphone makers to quickly follow suit.”

The senators wrote to RIM, Apple and Google on Tuesday asking them to remove the apps, which advertise themselves as offering real-time updates on the locations of police drunk-driving checkpoints.

The lawmakers cited concerns from law enforcement officials across the country, as well as the fact that more than 10,000 Americans die from drunk-driving-related crashes every year.

RIM told lawmakers they will likely comply with the request Wednesday.