Smartphone Apps to Prevent Drunk Driving - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Smartphone Apps to Prevent Drunk Driving

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Have you ever tried using a smartphone app to test your Blood Alcohol Content level? The BAC Calculator and other apps like it are meant to prevent drunk driving. But some people aren't yet sold on the reliability.

"I think that they're bogus," said Officer Brandon Ihde, a drug recognition expert with the Billings Police Department. "There're a lot of variables that come into determining whether you're impaired or not to drive. It has to do with your metabolism."

The apps generally have you enter in your height and weight, what you drank, and how long you've been drinking to estimate your BAC.

"I think the app's a good idea if people will actually put their weight in and use it, but if they're already intoxicated they may not really pay much attention to it," said Kori Miller. "I think that the more important thing is to educate younger students, college students, preferably on the risks on driving after drinking, but also the costs of getting a DUI."

"The problem is that if you're out drinking with some buddies and you're having a good time, you might lose track of how many drinks you have, or you might want to drive a little more, so you lie to yourself about how many drinks you have," said Daniel Zimmermen.

Police said the safest measure to prevent drunk driving is to not drive if you've had a drink.

"If you'd had anything to drink, and it hasn't been several hours, I would play it safe and call a cab, call a friend," Officer Ihde said. "If you're going to hang your future on an app that's free or 99 cents, you could've easily invested that money in a cab or called a friend instead."

Nearly a third of all fatal accidents are caused by drunk drivers according to the Centers for Disease Control.