In late 2009, an iPhone application entitled "R U Buzzed?" was launched by the Colorado Department of Transportation to lessen the number of DUI offenses in the state. Since becoming available, the application has been downloaded by thousands of iPhone users across the country.
Based on your input weight, gender, hours spent drinking and the amount of alcohol consumed, the application calculates a blood alcohol test rating. While promoted as a way to avoid DUI charges, by advising drivers not to get behind the wheel, employees at the Colorado Department of Transportation have been quick to point out that the results returned by "R U Buzzed?" are not to be considered a defense against DUI charges.
Still, as a state-sponsored tool meant for personal use, there is a certain amount of implied discretion imparted upon the user. It is assumed that the device will be used correctly, as well as function properly. By making such products available to everyone, the state seems to say that each individual has the ability to test him or herself and make a decision.
Even with the disclaimer, it seems reasonable for an individual pulled over for DUI to be upset when his CDOT application gave him a thumbs up to drive..
Doubts or no, in the wake of Colorado's foray into mobile drunk driving deterrents, other states have experimented with various applications designed to cut down on DUI charges.
Earlier this month, the California Office of Traffic Safety announced a partnership with the team behind the popular iPhone application "Taxi Magic". Using the application, individuals in certain cities will have the ability to call a cab company with the press of a button and schedule a ride.
Whether or not mobile applications like these can help prevent DUI remains to be confirmed. In the meantime, more states seem willing to try
- States Targeting Drunken Driving with Smartphone Apps (Government Technology)