Officials warn traffic apps can do more harm than good

Officials warn traffic apps can do more harm than good

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Officials are cautioning drivers about phone apps that warn police officers are near. Waze and other apps connect drivers to each other. This allows motorists to warn one anothers of car crashes, traffic backups or police officers.

But officials say these apps could do more harm than good.

Kristi Weaver uses Waze on a daily basis. “If you’re someone like me who gets lost everywhere, it’s a great thing,” Weaver said.

She finds the police feature very helpful. ‘I’m not really a speeder, but it’s just nice to know,” Weaver said. “There’s always that moment in your heart where it’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s a cop. Ok, make sure all my blinkers are working.’ You’re just always on edge. So it’s just kinda nice to know, alright, look sharp, there’s a cop up there.”

But Kenn Watson with the Florida Highway Patrol says speed enforcement zones are more important than you may realize. “You have to remember by blasting out all this information you may be helping someone who really needs to be behind bars,” Watson said.

Dangerous criminals are arrested daily thanks to simple traffic stops, law enforcement officers say. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and serial killer Ted Bundy were both arrested after being pulled over.

“Most criminals are not making good decisions,” Watson said. “Obviously, going the speed limit is a good decision. So when your life is based on making less than optimal decisions, you’re going to break traffic laws, and that’s when law enforcement can pull these very dangerous people off the streets and put them in jail where they belong.”

Watson says these traffic apps can help these criminals get away. “We’re out there doing everything we can to make sure you safely get home. And when we’re making those traffic stops, we’re pulling bad guys off the streets. This is something we have to remember,” he said.

Instead, Watson suggests drivers obey the speed limit and let law enforcement officials do their jobs.

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