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Could smartphone breathalyzers help prevent DUIs?

It's midnight. Do you know what your blood alcohol content is?

The best way to avoid a DUI charge is, of course, to never drive after drinking a drop of alcohol. But for those wondering if they or their friends should call a cab after a drink or two, a personal breathalyzer could be a lifesaver.

Over the last two years, several devices have popped up on the market that can turn a smartphone into a breathalyzer, many of them pocket-sized and affordable. One of the smallest on the market, DrinkMate, retails for around $35. Once you've downloaded an app, you simply plug in the device, blow and view the results on your phone screen.

Accuracy, however, can vary, and some reviewers still prefer the larger, more expensive personal breathalyzers for their reliability. Unless you're spending hundreds of dollars on the types of breathalyzers law enforcement use, a personal breathalyzer is unlikely to be a foolproof assurance that you're safe to drive. And many argue that if you're wondering whether you're safe to drive, you're most likely not.

But a personal breathalyzer's main value may lie in helping you convince a friend or family member that they've over the limit. Before letting your friend leave the bar and head to his car, it might be worth taking a moment to show off your new smartphone gadget. With Indiana's stiff penalties for operating while intoxicated, smartphone breathalyzers could help prevent fines, jail time and worse.

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Sallee Law, LLC

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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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