Roadblock tweets a problem for Vancouver police
VPD took almost 70 suspected impaired drivers off the roads around New Year's
Vancouver police are asking people to stop using social media services like Twitter to share the location of road blocks set up to catch drunk drivers.
The VPD took almost 70 suspected impaired drivers off the roads at roadblocks on the weekend before New Year's and on New Year's Eve itself.
But Sgt. Randy Fincham said many people were also using social media to share the location of those road blocks, allowing impaired drivers to avoid the roadside checks.
A quick scan of one Twitter feed called @RoadblocksBC shows dozens of people posted the apparent locations of roadblocks across the Lower Mainland.
Fincham said roadblocks are meant to keep drivers and pedestrians safe, and those who share their locations online are putting the lives of others at risk.
"It comes down more to an ethical dilemma more than it does to a legal dilemma," he said.
In the past transit police have notified the public about fare evasion checks on Twitter, and traffic reporters on radio and TV often discretely warn drivers to "watch your speed" around radar checks.
But Fincham said catching impaired drivers is a matter of life and death.
"We would hate to see a person be involved in a motor vehicle accident or a collision — worse case scenario — possibly injuring or killing somebody because they avoided a roadblock based on someone's tweets," he said.
"It's a situation that, I'm sure a person that put that tweet out, if they knew that information they provided ended up with an injury or a death, they would feel horrible about doing that."
Fincham said despite the tweets, police will keep looking for impaired drivers.