Technology vs. Drunk Driving – The Uber/Breathometer App Is Just the Beginning

At LifeSafer, we use breathalyzer technology to keep people impaired by alcohol off the roads. Our device, called an ignition interlock, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Interlocks have been proven to reduce recidivism among drunk drivers.

Uber has been attacking the problem of drunk driving from a different angle: they’ve been making it easier for people who have been drinking to call for a ride home. With Uber, as well as competing rideshare New-Breathalyzer-Applicationsservices Lyft and Sidecar, all you need to do is summon a ride via your smartphone app and you’re safely home, having endangered no one along the way. It’s a valuable resource for conscientious people out on the town.

Uber’s latest integration with Breathometer takes things to the next level. Here’s how it works: you plug the Breathometer device into your smartphone and breathe into it to measure your BAC (blood alcohol concentration). If you’re too tipsy to drive, the app will immediately offer to connect you to Uber for your ride home.

Where could things go from here? One obvious step would be to take the initiative away from the drinker altogether. Restaurants and bars could offer the breathalyzer service with the check – integrating the breath test into the nightlife experience itself.

With some research and entrepreneurship, more possibilities could emerge. Could we work a breathalyzer and rideshare service into the grandstand at a baseball or football game, where spectators could be drinking beer and planning a drive home?

Maybe the answer, for commercial establishments at least, is to pair the breathalyzer with the payment method. Once you swipe your debit or credit card, you must blow into an attached breathalyzer. With your approval comes your BAC – and if needed, a connection to a taxi or rideshare service.

Of course, there will always be those who drink and drive, and they will need to prevented from repeating their crime. There’s no app for that, but the solution already exists and is in use everywhere. Ignition interlocks are keeping drunk drivers off the roads every day.