You leave the bar Friday evening after a few drinks with friends. As you slide the key into your car’s ignition you think “I wonder if I’m legally able to drive.” This is a common predicament for many Pennsylvania residents.
While many people know that the legal limit is 0.08, few can accurately predict their BAC on any given night. It is difficult to estimate your BAC, and it can change based on a number of factors other than the amount of alcohol consumed. Can your smartphone provide the answer?
Smartphone breathalyzer apps measure BAC
Several companies have developed apps that serve as personal breathalyzers, mimicking the technology used by law enforcement. These portable breathalyzers plug into your smartphone and can easily fit into a pocket or purse for convenient access. Like their professional cousins, users blow air into the reader which registers their BAC.
Users must follow specific guidelines to ensure an accurate reading. You must wait 20 minutes after completing your last drink before taking a reading, otherwise lingering alcohol particles could interfere with the results.
Additionally, a product tester for Fortune magazine found that not all products are equally reliable. Some products’ results are consistently too high or too low to use with confidence. Thoroughly research the breathalyzer in question before purchase.
Is it a good idea to rely on these devices?
The best way to avoid drunk driving charges is to completely abstain from alcohol when you need to drive. However, these gadgets can be useful to provide a general guideline for your level of inebriation.
In addition to providing a BAC reading, many apps additionally provide links to call a cab, show nearby hotel locations and tell you how long it will take for you to sober up.
What should you do if you are charged with DUI?
If you are ever pulled over and charged with DUI, do not address your charges alone. They can carry significant fines, loss of license and jail time. Speak with an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your case and options.