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Why I ran a-waze

Waze is a navigation app that you can install on your phone. It shares out your phone’s location and speed in order to create a real time speed map based on data from all the users around you. For that purpose Waze works really well. It was able, for example to route me around a traffic snarl in my local neighborhood in a really creative way. It’s really an awesome app for doing things like daily commutes if there are issues with variable traffic patterns. Given how well it works it was with regret that I uninstalled it.
The reason that I uninstalled it is that I felt that by using it I was condoning dangerous behavior. Behavior that could literally get people killed. The issue I saw with Waze is that I believe its UX encourages people to interact with the app while driving. Waze doesn’t just want to collect speed data. It wants more specific information such as the presence of speed traps, accidents, etc. Entering this information requires touching the phone while driving. I believe that is encouraging incredibly dangerous behavior that puts both the driver and everyone around them in danger. To the extent that I use Waze I am benefiting from the peril that I believe the app puts its users and those around them in. That would be, I think, unethical so I had to uninstall what is an otherwise very useful app.

4 Responses to Why I ran a-waze

  1. savagestranger says:

    This is an old post, in internet time, but for posterity sake, I’d like to comment. I agree that it’s dangerous to input data while driving, but it is very useful if you have a copilot. Also, I believe that there is a plugin app that allows voice commands. So to summarize, there is no reason to “throw the baby out with that bathwater”, as they say. If we had to forsake all things that have potential for unethical use, where would we be?

  2. Marki says:

    Also note that all you need to do is to tap the “Report” button once – Waze shows a dialog box for defining alert type (accident, hazard, …). By the time you do the first click, Waze remembers the GPS position it was clicked. Then you can ride to the next red light and finish the report while not moving. There is no need to interact more while driving…

    • Administrator says:

      This assumes that most folks would use it that way. Given the high incidence of people texting while driving I find it unlikely that folks would wait. Also any action that takes your eyes off the road (such as finding that button) is inherently dangerous.

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