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Can an app determine if you might be driving while intoxicated?

Technology seems to breed even more technology as is the case with Smartphones and the various apps available for quick download. Several tech companies are now attempting to address drunk driving by providing consumers with an app to measure their breath for alcohol content. Breathalyzer apps are not new on the tech markets, but they are gaining more and more attention as people attempt to use them to avoid drunk driving charges.

NBC's Rossen Reports compared the results of three popular breathalyzer apps with results delivered by police breath tests to determine the accuracy of the apps in measuring blood alcohol content. A group of partygoers was tested with all three apps as well as with police testing equipment.

The results were mixed across the sobriety apps with only one providing readings in the near neighborhood of the results police breathalyzers achieved. The second app delivered readings far lower than police breathalyzers while the third app gave blood alcohol content readings far higher than the breathalyzer provided by the police. In fact, the only point of agreement between the breathalyzer apps and the police tests were that in all cases, those tested measured too intoxicated to legally operate a motor vehicle.

To be fair, the apps provide disclaimers that state people should not rely on them to make a decision about their driving ability. However, authorities are concerned that drivers will use the apps as a measure of their intoxication level before taking the wheel of an automobile.

Despite the advent of technology related to drunk driving, the best rule of thumb remains not driving with any alcohol in the system. Without legal help, a DUI conviction in Maryland could result in serious consequences including loss of driving privileges, jail time and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device.

Source: Today News, "Can Breathalyzer phone apps tell you whether you're legally drunk?" accessed Feb. 17, 2015

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