Want to figure out where you can get a good happy hour special after work? There’s an app for that. Need to pay your friend back for the beers he bought? There’s an app for that. Need to figure out if you’re still sober enough to drive home?
Now, there’s an app for that too.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has been working throughout 2016 on testing both a smartphone breathalyzer and the “R-U-Buzzed?” app. These tools are designed to help drivers know when it’s okay to get behind the wheel – and when it isn’t.
Smartphone breathalyzers include a detachable piece that you blow into. When you do so, your BAC will pop up on your screen. And the “R-U-Buzzed?” app is available for everyone in Colorado to use. It asks you for basic information: weight, gender, the amount of drinks or food you’ve had, and so on. Then it calculates what your BAC might be and alerts you about both Colorado’s DUI and DWAI laws.
Earlier this summer, they began a study that distributed 225 smartphone breathalyzers to randomly chosen drivers in the Denver Metro Area. The results from the survey and research were recently published online. The breathalyzers proved to be effective, with the survey showing that 84% of participants believed owning a smartphone breathalyzer reduced their risk of DUI/DWAI.
Participants liked being able to use the breathalyzer and see their results, noting that it made them feel more confident to make a decision about whether they were within the legal limit or not.
We all know that it can be tricky to determine our blood alcohol content (BAC) and ability to drive based on the amount of drinks we’ve had over a certain period of time. After all, BAC is also impacted by other factors: weight, gender, the type of alcohol you drank, how much you’ve eaten in the past few hours, and so on.
To put this in perspective, 79% of participants said they believed they might have driven under the influence before participating in the survey. But over the course of the study, only 12% of participants said they believed they drove under the influence.
DUI vs. DWAI
It is also tricky to know whether or not our BAC is within the legal limit because the laws are different for DUIs and DWAIs. Instead of DUI’s .08 BAC, DWAI has a legal limit of .05. It’s important to understand this, because there are pretty serious consequences for anyone who is caught driving under the influence – regardless of the charge.
Upon your first offense, a DUI conviction could land you up to one year in jail, $1,000 in fines, and the revocation of your license for up to one year. A first DWAI conviction could land you up to 180 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. And, of course, penalties will increase after a second or third conviction.
Staying Safe with CDOT’s New Technology
Consider getting a smartphone breathalyzer or downloading the “R-U-Buzzed?” app for your phone so that you can more confidently make the safest decisions about getting behind the wheel.
82% of participants said that anyone who drinks regularly should consider using this technology before driving. It could end up saving you a serious run-in with law enforcement – it might even save you your life.
If, despite your best efforts, you do find yourself facing a DUI or DWAI charge, make sure to call a Denver DUI lawyer immediately to fight for your future and good name.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2016 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.