Stacey M. Washington, Attorney and CounselorAttorney and Counselor
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Drunk-Driving Prevention Apps

Woman-Phone-Driving-Car-3190046.jpgWant to save yourself from a drunk-driving charge in Michigan? There's an app for that. Nationwide, drunk-driving prevention apps are gaining popularity. State departments are using smartphone technology to keep drunk drivers off the road. But as with other gadgets, these apps are just imperfect and unreliable tools and no replacement for common sense. 

Popular Drunk Driving Apps

The "R-U-Buzzed" app by the Colorado Department of Transportation is available on iOS and comes with a blood alcohol calculator. All you have to do is enter your weight, sex, type of drinks consumed, and number of hours you've been drinking. The app then gives you an estimated blood-alcohol-level, coupled with witty messages like "You're buzzed," "No hangover expected," or "Don't even think about it." An added feature is a Taxi icon that uses GPS to identify the user's location and provide a phone number for the nearest cab.

In Monroe County, New York the "Have a Plan" app is also fairly popular. In addition to a taxi service, the app has games that test whether the user is too impaired to drive. But officers urge citizens to remember a game is just a game, not a reliable test of sobriety. The app also provides information on the results of a DUI/DWI conviction and an option that directly links a user to 911 if they want to report a drunk driver. New York City's Department of Transportation has their own app called "You the Man" with similar features and a "spin the bottle" game to test your designated driver. Free in the iTunes store, the app is especially popular in areas where late-night taxis are hard to find.

The problem with these apps is the limits of technology. An iPhone or app can't calculate your metabolic level. It also doesn't consider the amount of food you've eaten throughout the night. Other factors, such as height and age, play a role in someone's intoxication and readiness to drive. Certainly these apps will make people think twice before getting behind the wheel, but they are not a final determination of sobriety (or even intoxication). After all, "My iPhone made me do it," is not a sound defense against a drunk-driving charge.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving in the Ann Arbor area, I invite you to contact me for a consultation. I can be reached directly at 734-274-6567 or via email.

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