New iPhone apps read blood alcohol levels and hail taxis

Simple to use breathalyser gadgets will help combat drink driving

New mobile apps to help combat drink driving will enable drivers to test their blood alcohol levels before getting behind the wheel.

Created in the US, BACtrack for iPhones and Breathometer for iPhones and Android smartphones, not only display readings within seconds but can also detect a user’s GPS location and call a friend, family member or cab should they surpass the limit.

Throughout America, a blood alcohol reading above 0.08 per cent is illegal for drivers, but the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that this be reduced to 0.05 per cent.

Chief executive of Breathometer, Charles Michael Yim, argued that "It’s not about whether you’re at 0.05 per cent or 0.08 per cent. If you even have 0.01 per cent you should not be driving."

He explained that although breathalysers have been in use since the 1950s, connecting them with smartphones will be more cost-effective and attractive for modern users who may not have considered buying one before.

Due to be released next month, Breathometer is the cheaper app at $49 (£30) while BACtrack’s breathalyser costs $150 (£94).

More than 1.2 million people were arrested for drunk driving in America in 2011, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving collisions in 2010.

"People think 'Oh, I’m driving around the corner' but it’s not until they get pulled over that they realise they’re over the limit," Yim told Reuters.

Based in California, both Breathometer and BACtrack use ethanol sensors approved by US Food and Drug Administration standards and can calculate blood alcohol levels within a 0.01 per cent accuracy rate.

Users simply plug their device - no larger than a car key -  into their smartphone’s headphone jack and blow on it. Any alcohol detected on the breath is then converted into a signal which the app processes and reports.

Drivers can work out long it will be until they are safe to drive and control when to stop drinking, as the app estimates the amount of time it will take them to sober up. Further features include the creation of drinking habits graph and the ability to share blood alcohol levels through text, Facebook and Twitter.

BACtrack has defended the concept of the social breathalyser stating: "We believe that if people are sharing and talking about their blood alcohol content, that’s definitely a good thing. It’s awareness, it’s educational and it creates a dialog about alcohol consumption."

But the Institute of Advanced Motorists road safety charity does not support the self-test apps. "We have two main concerns - they give an instant readout whereas alcohol concentration can increase over time and they may encourage people to have an extra drink up to the limit which they may not otherwise have had," explains their director of policy and research.

"They do have some value for assessing impairment on the morning after but on the night you are drinking they are not fool proof."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links