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Need a Breathalyzer? There’s an App for That

Did you know there are consumer breathalyzers that you can plug into your phone? Probably not. But as they say, there’s an app for that. Quite a few, actually – a cursory Google search found brands such as BACtrack, Breathometer, and Alcohoot, all offering competitively-priced smartphone breathalyzers and accompanying software. They range in price and could provide an essential service for frequent partygoers and the selfie-obsessed. That is, if they were accurate.

Which Smartphone Breathalyzer Is the Best?

While smartphone breathalyzers may seem like a convenient tool for individuals to monitor their blood alcohol content (BAC) before deciding to drive, the accuracy of these devices remains a significant concern. Jennifer Jolly’s investigation, conducted in collaboration with the California Highway Patrol, sheds light on the potential discrepancies between smartphone breathalyzer results and those obtained from reliable law enforcement-grade devices.

In the study, Jolly tested four different breathalyzers by consuming alcohol incrementally and then blowing into the smartphone breathalyzers to measure her BAC. The comparison was made against baseline measurements obtained from a bona fide breathalyzer provided by the police. Shockingly, only one of the four smartphone breathalyzers produced results that aligned with the accuracy of professional-grade equipment.

The implications for smartphone breathalyzer owners are clear—relying solely on these devices to determine whether it is safe to drive under the influence of alcohol may be a risky decision. Despite the convenience of these gadgets, the potential for dubious accuracy could lead to false assurances or, conversely, unnecessary concerns. Even with the advancements in smartphone technology, Siri and other virtual assistants cannot accurately measure impairment.

Given the importance of road safety and the potential consequences of impaired driving, erring caution is paramount. Instead of placing blind trust in a smartphone breathalyzer, it’s advisable to adopt alternative and more reliable means of transportation, such as ridesharing services like Uber, to ensure both personal safety and the safety of others on the road. While smartphone breathalyzers may continue to evolve, their current limitations suggest that they are not yet a foolproof solution for assessing one’s fitness to drive after consuming alcohol.

In the evolving landscape of technology and legalities surrounding alcohol consumption, the emergence of smartphone applications for Breathalyzer functionality stands as a noteworthy development. As explored in this discussion, these apps not only offer a convenient means of monitoring one’s blood alcohol content but also present potential advantages in the context of responsible drinking and legal compliance. In navigating this intersection of technology and law, individuals and businesses alike can benefit from staying informed about the capabilities and limitations of such applications. Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, a legal firm with expertise in DUI defense and related matters, is well-positioned to provide guidance and insights into the legal implications of utilizing these innovative tools. As the digital realm continues influencing how we approach public safety issues and personal responsibility, staying abreast of legal considerations and seeking professional advice remains paramount.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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