Digital DUI: An app tests Blood Alcohol Content - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Digital DUI: An app tests Blood Alcohol Content

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

How do you know if you're really safe to drive after a night out on the town?

It's a question a new app claims it can answer.  It's called Breathaleyes, and it's available for the iPhone at a cost of 99 cents.

The app uses the phone's camera to capture Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, or HGN.

HGN is what police officers test during field sobriety checks. While the app is marketed for entertainment purposes only, creators claim its technology is based on 40 years of public and private testing.

"There are apps coming out every day," said Huntsville Police Officer Joey Torkar. "You don't know how accurate these apps are."

The Huntsville Police Department was skeptical when we first told him about the app.

With the help of several HPD officers, Breathaleyes was put to the test.

Three people volunteered to drink four beers over a 60 minute period. After waiting another 30 minutes, we tested their blood alcohol content with the app and a police calibrated breathalyzer.

Two volunteers recorded BACs in the .05 to .08 range, and a third blew close to .10.

When Breathaleyes was used, seconds later the results were nowhere near the police readings. According to the app, all three volunteers had blood alcohol contents over the .08 legal limit.  Two of the volunteers recorded BAC's nearly double what police found.

"I would take it with a grain of salt," said Torkar. "I wouldn't trust the app."

While the test is non-scientific, it shows high tech trends don't always reflect accurate results.

Police agree Breathaleyes might make some people reconsider getting behind the wheel, but when it comes to trying to get out of a DUI, there's not an app for that.

"Call a cab, call a friend that hasn't been drinking," said Torkar. "If they've been drinking, period, they don't need to be driving."

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved. 

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