Do Smartphone Breathalyzers Really Work?
There seems to be an app for nearly everything now. Over the last few years, mobile apps have even been developed that can easily transform your smartphone into a breathalyzer to determine your blood alcohol level (BAC). You may have heard of some of the more popular ones: Alcohoot, BACTrack and Breathometer. But the question is: can you trust the results or should you be wary? Here is some interesting information about the latest breathalyzer smartphone apps, brought to you by Gotham City Collision .
The legal BAC in the United States is .08%. Let’s say you’ve been out for dinner here in Long Island City , NY , ordered a second glass of wine and want to ensure it’s OK to drive. If you have your breathalyzer with you, just plug the device into the headphone jack, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and then blow into the opening. Voilà, you’ll immediately have a good idea of your current BAC level.
New generation smartphone breathalyzers on the market use fuel cell technology, which is the same technology employed by police and military. The devices oxidize the alcohol in your breath sample and produce an electric current. This is the measurement that gives you a BAC reading.
Some breathalyzers are known to be more reliable than others and many include additional features such as tracking results, estimating how long it will take to become sober, temperature checking and information to contact a cab or Uber.
Pros and Cons:
· The pocket-sized devices are portable
· They are easy to use since the devices pair your smartphone via an app
· Can share the breathalyzer with friends and family
· Readings are considered more dependable than using DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) charts
· Prices are somewhat affordable, starting at approximately $50
· The devices require a smartphone
· Recharging and recalibration is often required
· The results are not always accurate
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 people in the United States die every day in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Although smartphone breathalyzers will tell you if there is alcohol in your system, there are mixed reviews when it comes to how accurate they are and the BAC readings seem to vary from device to device. Even the companies that sell them include warnings not to rely solely on the readings. However, they seem to be a great tool to help reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road and better assist in making smarter, more responsible decisions on whether or not to get behind the wheel.
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Sources: CA DMV, AARP and Yahoo