Too drunk to drive? There's an app for that! It's called BreathalEyes and it's supposed to be able to tell you you're blood alcohol content by simply scanning your eyes. But does it work?
To help us with our testing, we went to a Pima County Sheriff's Department DUI workshop.
"Today we're running what's called a wet workshop where we bring volunteers in. They're dosed with a known amount of alcohol," Sgt. Jason Dowdy said.
In a controlled environment, deputies keep track of the number of drinks and the volunteers' blood alcohol concentrations by using breathalyzers throughout. Once the volunteers reach a certain level, the deputies work on their field sobriety skills like the walk and turn, stand on one foot and the eye test.
Dep. Randall Nice explained, "On a sober person, the eyeball will just sit there, however if you've been drinking or ingesting alcohol to a certain level, the alcohol will actually cause the eye to jerk."
The eye test these deputies are working on is the same test the BreathalEyes app uses to judge your blood alcohol concentration.
Once volunteers Aaron Romero and Joseph Suhay are right around the legal limit of .08%, they go to another room for the test. We frame up Joseph's eye and activate BreathalEyes.
It registers him at .03% BAC. He is asked if he could drive at this point and he said definitely not.
Aaron Romero registers at a .07% BAC on BreathalEyes, which was pretty close to his actual level. Romero said, "It's a nice tool to give you an idea when you are, but I wouldn't put much faith in it."
A little later, we pulled Theresa aside after she blew a .11% BAC on the real breathalyzer. The first BreathalEyes test was way off at .06%, but a second try was much closer at .12%.
Sgt. Dowdy said, "The accuracy is definitely questionable at best."
The deputies say they worry about the false readings like with Joseph and Theresa, when the app says they're not over the legal limit and they actually are.
The designers of the app make it clear, and you really can't miss it when you use the app, it's for entertainment purposes only. The BreathalEyes app is available only on iPhones.
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