There are a lot of things smartphones can do, from recording your blood pressure and heart rate to scanning your fingerprints. But when it comes to breathalyzers, relying on apps designed to test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could end in you receiving a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, being involved in a fatal crash, or receiving penalties including having to install an ignition interlock.
That’s why North Carolina Highway Patrol Officers are urging caution when it comes to using breathalyzer apps. Some apps will claim to give you an accurate calculation of your BAC simply based on your weight, height, and what you’ve had to drink, while other apps include additional devices or plug ins you must connect to your smartphone to get an accurate reading. The problem with these devices is that they’re not considered ‘evidentiary grade’ or comparable to the technology built into a police grade breathalyzer or ignition interlock. Without unique fuel cell technology designed specifically to provide accurate BAC readings, you can’t rely on your app to provide factual information.
Another thing to consider is your ability to make decisions after drinking. When you’ve been drinking, your judgment tends to fly out the window. Using apps to check your BAC and finding you’re below the legal threshold of .08 may make you feel brave enough to risk getting behind the wheel. Even if you don’t blow near .08 and instead are in the warn range of .05 to .08, you could still be too intoxicated to drive.
These types of breathalyzer apps and breathalyzers that connect to your smartphone can be used as a good reminder to not drink and drive, but you should never rely on them to decide whether or not to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. The safest option for everyone, no matter what your weight, height, or how well you can handle your alcohol, is to hand the keys over to someone else and never drive after drinking.