Study Reveals Breathalyzer App Inconsistencies

Posted by Steven Eversole | Sep 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

Before Smartphones and portable breathalyzer tests, those who consumed alcohol had to guess whether they were over the legal limit before getting behind the wheel. Anyone who has consumed alcohol likely knows the tell-tale signs–blurred vision, unstable balance, even a change in personality. But how easy is it to identify symptoms of intoxication in ourselves? The breathalyzer app was intended to be a modern solution to the old-age dilemma- but, do they work? And are they accurate? A recent investigation studied the results on breathalyzer applications and have raised suspicion of accuracy. Nationwide, authorities have urged drivers not to believe everything a Smartphone tells them.

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After drinking, it can be difficult to know whether you are too intoxicated or over the legal limit. This can be especially difficult if you have only had one or two drinks. Compound this with variables, including how much you have eaten, the temperature outside, or how much water you have consumed, and the BAC results are always likely to vary. Our Birmingham DUI attorneysunderstand the frustrations faced by drivers who have been arrested and charged with DUI. We also know that even if you were only slightly over, you could face severe criminal charges and penalties. To best protect your rights, you should have a clear understanding of how breathalyzer apps and BAC evidence may be used against you in court.

An increasing number of Alabama residents are investing in portable apps to test their blood-alcohol levels. While making a concerted effort to better understand blood-alcohol computation and a general awareness is positive, the accuracy of most “breathalyzer” apps has been challenged by authorities. Breathalyzer app companies assert that they help users make better decisions, though law enforcement officials have called the results unreliable–some believe that the apps have the potential to result in an increased rate of drunk driving.

The reality is that these apps should be treated as nothing more than a novelty.

In a recent Today report, three leading apps known as Breathometer, Alcohoot and BACtrack Mobile, were used to compare the results to official police breathalyzers. Using the breath test results from a single sample, the “guest” had 6 drinks. While on an official police breathalyzer she was almost over the legal limit, and admitted that she was a risk, the Breathometer put her below the legal limit. The Alcohoot results were also different, putting her at, .16, twice the legal limit; and the third app put her at .21, more than twice the legal limit. In the end, results of all three apps varied widely. More importantly, none of them came close to the police test results. Using other breath samples, the results also varied widely from below the legal limit to twice the legal limit.

Though the study only involved a few samplers, varying results do show that the BAC on your Smartphone may not accurately reflect your blood alcohol. More importantly, it is not likely to line up with the results of a police breathalyzer. Law enforcement officials have long been concerned about the inaccuracy of Smartphone breathalyzers and other cheap versions of a high-tech and calibrated police equipment. Being aware of your BAC is key to preventing a DUI, but if you suspect you are over the limit, best not to get behind the wheel, regardless of what your Smartphone says.

Call Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

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About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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