For the most part, drivers are getting distracted by smartphones, but developers of Breathometer wants to reverse this trend by using smartphones to prevent DUI incidents.
The Breathometer costs $20 and connects to your phone’s headphone jack. Just breath into the attachment and the mobile device connects to an accompanying app that reads your blood alcohol content (BAC) to warn you of potentially violating legal BAC levels. If you are dangerously intoxicated, the app encourages you to use alternative transportation by connecting you to local taxis and public buses.
Breathometer’s Indiegogo campagne has been extremely successful with nearly two thousand funders willing to use the device. Incentivizing drivers with insurance discounts also helps to encourage the use of breathalyzers. A recent survey by CarInsurance.com shows that 65% of drivers are willing to install breathalyzers in their vehicles in exchange for cheaper insurance rates. Since 2010, Progressive’s Snapshot program have been monitoring driving habits to give discounts to drivers with a promise to never increase rates for poor performers. Similar guarantees from insurers might give most drivers a motivation to use smartphone devices to improve driving habits and possibly decrease DUI related incidents.
This device would be especially useful in France where drivers are required to carry a personal breathalyzer in their cars. France cites drunk driving as the leading cause of traffic fatalities since 2006. American drivers suffer a similar fate – alcohol related deaths in 2011 was nearly 10,000.