Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 Americans annually, or one person every 53 minutes.
There's been great debate about lowering the blood-alcohol limit for drivers from 0.08 to 0.05. And while there's a good chance that won't significantly curb the number of drunk driving deaths — most are caused by drivers with a BAC that is well above 0.08 — even one life saved would be an improvement.
But maybe it's time to take some personal responsibility. Enter Breathometer, the first personal, cell-phone powered breathalyzer. The six-employee California-based company has gotten some good PR about their product throughout the year, and next month folks should be able to get their hands on this potentially transformative device.
Here's the skinny: For $49.99, you can buy a Federal Drug Administration-registered Breathometer, which weighs less than an ounce, works with Android or iPhone devices and can detect a blood-alcohol content between a squeaky-clean sober 0.00 and bloodshot-red-eye 0.20.
Just blow into the Breathometer, wait five seconds and learn where you rank on the drunk scale.
There are many personal-use breathalyzers on the market now, but I personally know of one person who owns one. The fact that Breathometer appears to be new-age technology, complete with a smartphone app, should make it more appealing, especially to the young, drunk generation that most of the time has no idea how intoxicated they actually are.
Of course, data from a device other than an actual breathalyzer connected to the hand of a law enforcement professional will not hold up in the court of law. But Breathometer could prevent you from getting to that point.
Costs vary on how much a DUI or OWI offense actually costs in the long term (this one says $45,000), but it's safe to say all cost more than the $50 cost of Breathometer.
Are you buyin'?
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