Using the Latest Technology to Curb Drunk Driving

More people are reaching for their "smart phone" (like an Apple iPhone or Google Android) instead of their car keys after a night out on the town. Phone applications can help potential drivers calculate their blood alcohol content (BAC), call a taxi, calculate a route charge, and even find a lawyer should they get into a sticky situation.

How Do They Work?

In 2009, Colorado's Department of Transportation teamed up with private developers to release the free application R-U-Buzzed for the iPhone. The app asks for the user's weight, sex, quantity of drinks consumed, type of drinks consumed and the time since they were drunk before calculating their blood alcohol content. It then provides a sober analysis of their driving abilities ranging from "You're buzzed!" to "Don't even think about it!...Designate a sober driver." If your analysis comes up yellow or red, the app provides a listing of taxis and car services in the area that can provide transportation assistance. In the first month of its release, the free app was downloaded more than 40,000 times.

California's Office of Traffic Safety teamed up this May with the popular Taxi Magic app to promote drinking responsibility in California. "It gives those who need to get some place when they've had too much to drink an easy way to do it," says California OTS Spokesman Chris Cochran. Taxi Magic's network partners with more than 60 transportation providers to allow users to tap one button to phone a cab company and arrange pick-up details utilizing the phone's GPS. Since its introduction in January 2009, Taxi Magic has become one of the most downloaded apps from Apple's iTunes store.

The Apps for Democracy organization released the Stumble Safely app for those in the Washington D.C. area, which maps the drinking establishments visited and then provides a safe walking route home through the lowest-crime neighborhoods. The Last Call App helps you deduce your blood alcohol content but also provides a listing of DUI lawyers in the area should you be caught ignoring the app's recommendations.

The Price is Right, the Benefits Priceless

If these apps only save one life, it's hard to argue with the price. It cost Colorado only $8,000 to develop the R-U-Buzzed app and distribute it for free to thousands of users.

The problems inherent with drunk driving are no longer an unknown to most motorists. Almost 14,000 people were killed last year in alcohol-related driving incidents, and most states have widely publicized, stiff penalties for those who break the law. Statistics show that 65 percent of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes last year were age 21 to 34. An additional 17 percent were under 21.

If you have been accused of drunk driving, you need a skilled advocate on your side - contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who has in-depth knowledge of cases like these.

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