New iPhone App Singles Out Bad Drivers

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Imagine having the power to flag down bad drivers or to write traffic tickets or just call people out for changing lanes without a signal.

A new app called ‘Drive Me Crazy’ is now available for the iPhone, and it gives drivers the power to scrutinize those who don’t responsibly use the road.

“I’d love it, if only there were more reality police out there,” said Jamie Zaunbrecher, a Dallas driver. “People are cutting people off and acting like idiots.”

Using the app, a driver can voice-record the license plate of a bad driver. The app then uses GPS to pinpoint the person’s position.

From there, app users have a choice: Vent by recording a voice message detailing exactly what the driver in question did wrong, or write up their own mock ticket.

“This driver literally ran through a four-way stop while I’m trying to wait for my son to get off the bus from school,” voiced one driver using the app. “This is utterly ridiculous how people just don’t care.”

“When you’re driving 40 in a 25 mile per hour speed zone and you almost hit someone, then I suggest you learn how to drive,” another frustrated driver said.

People who report bad drivers remain anonymous. Drivers who are flagged, however, are open to public scrutiny. App users can pull up a license plate anywhere in the U.S. to see how many times that driver has been reported.

Philip Inghelbrecht, CEO of San Francisco-based Drive Me Crazy, said he feels the app can help everyone become better drivers while allowing others to let off some steam.

Inghelbrect said in a few months, even those without the app will be able to search license plates using basic search engines to see who’s racking up complaints.

Legally, there’s not much a bad driver can do once they’re flagged. License plates are visible in public, so they’re fair game. And as Dallas Internet attorney Peter Vogel notes, removing a report from the Internet is extremely difficult.

“Over time, the courts are saying, if there’s a grain of truth to it, then they probably can post it. So, it’s not so easy to get rid of it,” Vogel said.

While tickets and verbal rants are available to the public, the information is useless to insurance companies and law enforcement agencies.

“If you got a grudge against someone; a neighbor, an ex-friend, an ex-wife or husband,” said Sr. Sgt. Don Peritz with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Dept. “The ability to abuse this is just off the chart and therefore it’s difficult for us to even consider looking at some type of enforcement action.”

There is some irony to the Drive Me Crazy app, though: It encourages drivers to file reports while behind the wheel.

“You’re forcing people to use their phones while their driving, so the juice might not be worth the squeeze,” said Austin Ortiz, another Dallas driver.

The app can be used as a social networking tool, as well. Users can flag good drivers for being courteous, even for being attractive.

Flirts, however, are only available to the driver it’s meant for and are not open to the public or other users of the app.

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  • KC

    Now we will have another distraction for drivers to play with while still trying to drive. The worse drivers are the driving slow while talking on cell phone and all over the road while texting

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  • Adumbidea

    This will cause jerks to get peoples license numbers and post them as drivers just for the fun of it. Sounds like fun to me. If I have a wreck while texting and driving I can always su the maker of the App for selling me a product that caused the accident and make $$$$’s.

  • How?

    How do you flirt with someone whom you don’t know their phone number?

    • Deanna

      Shouldn’t be doing it while driving anyway. Go to the bar or church like everyone else!!

  • Deanna

    How are we as ADULTS supposed to teach our kids not to be on the phone while driving when people are still out there making stupid apps like this one. Just what we need, another distraction. Shut up and drive!!!

  • Sarah Kathryn

    They need this for Android too. I would love this app.

  • Really

    Why are you reporting on an app that encourages people to drive while distracted? This is irresponsible journalism.

    • LLG

      I agree!! Should be doing something to STOP the texting/cell phone use not encouraging it!! :(

  • A girl named Facebook « God Issues

    […] technology, the “Drive Me Crazy” app is now available for the iPhone.  Janet heard a report last night on our local news about it.  You voice-record the license plate of a bad driver; the app then uses […]

  • Les Wingfield

    Here we go. Once again, complainers whining about texting while driving. What’s the trouble moron’s? You can’t multitask? Then you probably don’t need to be driving in the first place. Texting is just another way to pass the time while traveling about. It’s a way of life and you better learn to live with it. That includes the fat chick in the Miata stuffing her face, the mommy in the SUV talking to her baby in the backseat and the eunuch in the Prius changing channels on his Ipod.

    • Shawn

      Look; what about that idiot that rear-ended someone cause he was multi-tasking (texting) & did not see the brake lights cause someone pulled out in front of him. That someone did not see him coming down the road at the posted speed cause she was having a conversation on her phone. So, the person just got rear-ended by the guy who lost his job, was trying to find another, has no auto insurance. No, get used to it cause the one who was rear-ended is layed up in the hospital facing permanent disabilities, will not be able to work, but he, an innocent driver, must get used to it. Texas law prevents him from being able to really fight the issue for any true compensation for his messed up life. You are truly unbelievable. Life is about handling what is put before us. but we all must be responsible with what we do with it. Too many people on the phone driving down the road, making lane changes and never even realizing they just ran someone off the road unless their vehicle makes contact with the other vehicle. Once it happens to you, then your attitude will certainly make an about face reality adjustment. I just hope you are not as irresponsible as you sound.

  • Coretta Jackson

    Thank you, I want to know what is going on. Keep the iphone updates going.

  • Walt

    This is the stupidest of all apps. Let me see if I get this right, you report a bad driver by becoming one. That is what will happen if you distract yourself from your driving to use your phone. They need to outlaw all apps/texting etc. that take your hands off the wheel.

  • Philip Inghelbrecht

    Thank you Jay for the great story on DriveMeCrazy.

    I notice the concern people have about DriveMeCrazy adding to the problem of distracted driving. Operating the app requires a single push of a button, the rest is completely hands-free (i.e. simply speak in the plate). We have spent a lot of time/research on this user experience, and even ran it by people in government and at road safety organizations. All agree that our service causes minimal distraction (and definitely less than for example dialing 1-800-EXHAUST, 800 How’s My Driving or even 911). Our hope is actually that DriveMeCrazy will help stop people texting and driving by providing them peer feedback.

    Philip Inghelbrecht, CEO DriveMeCrazy

    • Elmer

      You are only interested in the money.

  • Rhonda Reynolds Hutton

    can we report texting and driving ??

  • Shawn

    Mr. Inghelbrecht; It is rather interesting what you have created & I suppose a lot of folks will properly use it. But, after reading your reaction to Jay about the story, I must wonder if you truly realize the impact of the app as it relates to road rage, anger & societal issues. There have been movies regarding people who report others and then stalking issues occur. What about the bored passenger or even a kid in the back seat or a high school student, college student or lets say someone who has simply just had a horrible day. What is to prevent these people from taking their anxiety or bordom out on other drivers. There are a lot of pranksters who will think is funny to report on your system and by reporting the plate, gps location of vehicle, etc, now their prank, which may be a false issue becomes a permanent record and is recorded as fact. Today, we live in an age where photos and comments on the internet can and do effect peoples abilities to gain employment or rise thru the ranks of their current employer. What happens when the interviewer searches, finds the license plate and refuses employment or advancement or fires an employee because someone else used his / her vehicle or someone abused your reporting system. Where are the checks and balances to make your system a fair for all involved. At this moment, perhaps the police departments & insurance companies currently cannot utilize such information. But it was not that long along that cameras could not be used either. Today, if a vehicle that is registered to you but is driven by a family member, friend, etc. runs a light, you are the one who gets the red-light or tol-way ticket and you will have to pay it. Technology has it’s burdens, but you have put a whole new twist on it!

  • Michael

    This is a dumb idea. People will now concetrate more on their phones than driving. That in my opinion will make them bad drivers

  • bill

    who are you to say some one is a bad driver.Just because someone drives different than you don’t make them a bad driver. This ap will do nothing but cause a hole lot of BAD DRIVERS WORSE. OK JANE DOE IS DRIVING IN THE LEFT LANE (multi lane highway) a car comes up behind her and flashes it lights requesting you move right so as the other driver can pass. who is wrong? The car attempting to pass or jane doe. Note Jane doe is in the wrong for NOT DRVINE RIGHT.

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  • TheLIp

    I compare it to hitler youth snitching on their parents, and promotes the idea of vigilante justice. After all police are trained to make judgments about drivers, most drivers are not and would react on an emotional level ( they perceive the person cut them off so they are driving bad).
    Since potential employers scan Facebook and Twitter this could cost someone a job and maybe they weren’t even driving their car that day. What if some mis-keys the license number.

    This is a scarlet letter type of approach. I hope this guy gets sued either by someone that gets identified as bad driver ( and loses out on a job) or by someone using the app and having an accident (you would not be distracted if you were not trying to get close enough to read a license plate number).

    This is a VERY BAD idea.

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