Smartphone apps that calculate a person’s blood alcohol content are popping up more frequently, and critics argue they’re being used for unintended purposes.
“We’re not promoting drinking and driving, but you have to remember, it’s not illegal to drink and drive, it’s illegal to drive under the influence and at a .08 or more,” John Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez is an attorney at Tower Legal Group in Sacramento, which recently released a drinking and driving app called BuzzBee.
The app factors a person’s weight and sex against the number of drinks they’ve consumed and the amount of time spent drinking to determine if they’re OK to drive.
BuzzBee also features a DUI checkpoint schedule and a button that allows users to record their encounter with police.
“It’s a great tool to have mainly for educational purposes. I don’t think many people know how many drinks it takes you to get to a certain level. A lot of people think they can go out and have five, six, seven drinks and they’re OK to drive ’cause they sat there for two hours,” Gonzalez said.
Some critics say these type of blood alcohol content apps pose risks because they can not accurately calculate a driver’s risk of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
“That’s what we don’t want. That’s our fear, what we’re believing is happening. Although they’re promoted as educational tools, we don’t believe that they are being used as such … we don’t see them used as an educational tool for folks to raise awareness, they’re using them as a personal gain so they can get home without getting a DUI,” Aaron Wade said.
Wade is a law enforcement liaison with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, also known as MADD.
“I think that people use these apps not to educate themselves but to figure out ways to get around drinking and driving,” Wade said.
Wade told FOX40 there are plenty of other apps, like Uber and Lyft that can get drunk people home with less risk.
“We just want you to utilize a safe ride or a taxi or a safe way to get home. That’s the goal at the end of the day, everyone has a good time but is getting home safe as well” Wade said.
“The reality is if you’re putting that information into it, it will tell you you’re not okay to drive … we’re not alerting people to try and get away with it. It’s simply an education tool to say before you go out and do this, be aware the cops are out there and you may get caught tonight,” Gonzalez said.