Can a Smartphone App Really Tell If You Are Too Drunk to Drive?

Can A Smart Phone Really Tell You If You Are Too Drunk to Drive?

Have you seen the new breathalyzer apps for your Smartphone?

Would you base your decision to drive home after drinking – based on the readings from a Smartphone app?

All over the Internet including Amazon, local and national news stations, Google Play Stores and the Apple store, you can find the latest in Smartphone capabilities – a breathalyzer app. While the app seems promising and has a goal of helping citizens make smart decisions, can the app really keep people safe on the roads?

You won’t find just one app either, but many apps to choose from. Many of those apps cost less than $100. After purchasing, you will be sent a device that plugs into your phone. With that device, your Smartphone transforms into a breathalyzer test that will read your current blood alcohol level.

These new apps have received a lot of attention and have many people ordering their very own breathalyzer tests. Many of the companies like BACtrack share in the same goal of helping the consumer to make “smart decisions ahead of time”.

One of the apps will link up with Apple’s new Health Kit according to This app is called Breeze and if your BAC or blood-alcohol level is above .08, the app will trigger a “get home safe” screen. That screen will provide you with a share-a-ride app, listings for local cab companies, your contacts to call a friend for a ride and listings of restaurants and hotels.

The Problem with Smartphone Breathalyzers

One of the main problems with that has been presented with the new Smartphone breathalyzer apps is that not all of them are accurate. Many are taking research into their own hands to see how accurate the breathalyzers are. One of the most popular “controlled drinking experiments” was done by Kare 11.

Kare 11’s “Controlled Drinking Experiment”

Equipped with five local radio celebrities, some police officers, 3 breathalyzer apps, a pub, and the same breathalyzer test the police carry that is used in court, the experiment’s goal was to see how accurate the new breathalyzer apps were.

After a few hours of drinking at the pub, the testing got underway. The celebrities would test the breathalyzer apps against the same breathalyzer test the police carry.

One breathalyzer app failed to warn the celebrities when they were close to the legal limit. Instead, it consistently displayed numbers below the legal drinking limit when the breathalyzer test the police used said that they were over.

Another test erred on the side of caution, displaying BAC levels that were higher than the police’s breathalyzer test.

Another “Controlled Drinking Experiment”

In another controlled drinking experiment published by Today News, the same breathalyzer app that failed to warn the local radio celebrities, Alcohoot, proved to be the most accurate.

The breathalyzer app that appeared to do well with the Kare 11 experiment, Breathometer, actually failed in this experiment. When I say failed, what I mean is that the numbers were too low, saying the drinkers were under the legal limit, when in fact they weren’t.

The one app that was consistent in both experiments, however, produced higher numbers was BACtrack.


Unfortunately, if you use one of these apps and then get into the car to drive home and get pulled over, it won’t matter what the app says. The police will go by what their court-approved test says. It seems that there is too much conflicting information out there to really say that these tests are accurate.

If you find yourself in trouble because of drinking and driving, please call my office. Having an experienced attorney by your side that has a proven record of helping his clients is invaluable. Please call today.

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