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Should a pocket breathalyser be your drinking buddy?

Amber Bouman | July 3, 2014
Drinking and driving is obviously a terrible idea. But are pocket-sized, smartphone-connected breathalyzers a good way to tell if you're too buzzed, or just a silly toy that will make your friends drink more?

Smartphone Breathalyzer Tip #6: It can encourage stupid behavior. Invariably when Kenny blows a 0.08, Kyle, and Stan, and Cartman are all going to take another shot in order to beat him. Not only is it sometimes hard to keep the Breathalyzers from being used for evil instead of good, but it is very difficult to get intoxicated people to wait 15 minutes for a more accurate reading, skewing everything off.

If the scary data sharing isn't a deterrent, you can also look forward to a graph that charts your BAC readings on a timeline. The app also features a BAC Estimator where you can add your physical details, your drinking session time, and your drinks in order to calculate how long it will take you to return to sobriety, which is certainly a useful feature to have--but also something the Breathometer does automatically.

Final field notes

After spending several weeks with the devices, it seems most people largely preferred the wireless Bluetooth functionality of the BACtrack--however, almost no one was still interested after being told about the level of data the BACtrack app shares and keeps. Personally, I wouldn't use it for that reason alone. I was irked by the less accurate semiconductor technology of the Breathometer, so that leaves the Alcohoot as a solid default choice. Bottoms up, but please drink responsibly, and never, ever drink and drive.


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