How Does a Breathalyzer App Work?

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A breathalyzer app can work much in the same way as a standard breathalyzer. (Photo: @FreedomTumZ via Twenty20)
As the saying goes, there’s an app for everything, and you can now download an app that acts as a breathalyzer. Breathalyzers are generally used by police to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a driver who is suspected of intoxication. When the driver breathes into a small opening, the device can detect the amount of alcohol present in the blood.
These breathalyzers are very accurate and are used in court as evidence of intoxication. A breathalyzer app effectively does the same thing, but it’s worth looking into them a bit more to figure out exactly how they work.

Hand-Held Breathalyzer Apps

Once you have downloaded a breathalyzer app onto your phone, you can get a sense of how it works and what it requires from you.
One type of breathalyzer app, such as BACtrack, connects to an actual breathalyzer that is synced with your smartphone via Bluetooth.
Whenever you want to figure out your BAC, you blow into the handheld breathalyzer and the readings are recorded on your phone for you to see. Some apps will give more detail on what exactly your readings mean, and it is probably wise to find one that gives you as much information as possible.

Eye Movement and Manual Entry Breathalyzer Apps

There are other breathalyzer apps on the market that do not require you to purchase a separate handheld breathalyzer, but they do evaluate your BAC in different ways.
Some apps use the natural bodily signs of intoxication to reveal your BAC. For example, they can use your phone’s camera to measure the eyes for movements associated with inebriation.
Other apps require more effort on your part. IntelliDrink, for example, allows you to enter your drinks into its system, and using a complex algorithm it gives you an exact measurement of your BAC, along with other information like calories and lifetime drinking habits.
In the strictest sense, these apps are not really breathalyzer apps because they do not include an actual breathalyzer to measure your BAC. Of course, this does not mean they are necessarily inaccurate, but the makers of these apps generally request that their respective product not be used to make final determinations about whether it is safe for you to drive. Although they are unlikely to admit as much, these apps are not as accurate as the ones in official use by police, which are thoroughly and professionally tested.
You should continue to use your best judgment about how safe it is for you to drive, and if you do decide to use an app, don’t rely on it alone. If you think you are drunk, yet the app tells you that your BAC is below the legal limit, don’t go out and drive.
Use the app in conjunction with all the telltale signs of intoxication, and rely on common sense more than anything else. Because the risks associated with drunk driving are so extreme, you should always be cautious and get a taxi or Uber if there is ever any doubt.
If you have a DUI on your record, then your insurance rates are probably quite high. But just because you made an error in judgment, this does not mean that you have to pay unfairly elevated rates. Jerry can comparison shop on your behalf to find the best rates for a plan that takes your driving history into account. Plus, it searches again every six months to guarantee you are getting the best available rate.