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A Brilliant App to End Drunk Driving

It’s 11 p.m. on a Friday night, and you’re just leaving your favorite restaurant.

Suddenly, you see two young men stumble out of a nearby pub… and head straight for their cars.

Sharing the road with these impaired drunks isn’t just nerve-racking, it can also be deadly.

Especially when you consider this: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2013, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year.”

Luckily, there’s a brilliant new app that aims to stop drunks from driving before they even get behind the wheel…

Over the Limit? Your Phone Will Tell You…

I’ve covered life-saving auto industry innovations before – and Breathometer is no different.

It’s a smartphone breathalyzer that takes safety levels to a new high. Put simply, if you’re too wasted to get behind the wheel, the app hails an Uber car to get you home safely – and ensure that other unsuspecting drivers do, too…

Besides being a darn good idea, there’s little doubt that Breathometer gained fame from being featured on the popular CNBC show, Shark Tank.

So popular, in fact, that all five “sharks” invested heavily in the project.

From there, the innovation has gone from strength to strength. Over the last nine months, Breathometer has conducted over one million tests and racked up $10 million in sales.

The innovation has proved so successful that, in a major development, Uber has been integrated into the app now, using the Uber API.

Here’s how Breathometer works…

Download… Blow… Call

Breathometer is simple… brilliant… and highly effective. What’s more, it saves lives.

The first step is to download the Breathometer app, which is compatible with iOS7 (or newer) and Android 4.3 (or above) operating systems.

The next (and most important) step, is to purchase Breathometer’s Breeze. It’s basically a wireless smartphone breathalyzer, which is available at Best Buy (BBY).

The device provides an accurate reading of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, and sends the information directly to the app on your phone.

Here’s where things get cool, though: If your concentration levels are above 0.04, the app not only tells you the estimated time at which your levels should be back down to zero, it also gives you options in the meantime.

So you could choose to hang out while you sober up. If you select that option, the “Stay Nearby” feature gives you three choices:

  • Find food.
  • Get a room.
  • Another activity. (Not more drinking, of course!)

But if you want to get straight home, or to another destination, the app offers three immediate options:

  • Hail an Uber.
  • Call a cab.
  • Call a friend.

And just like that, you’re on your way…

From Drunk to Uber in Five Moves

I should note that the device will only produce an accurate reading as long as it’s been 20 minutes since your last drink. As noted on the Breathometer site, “It takes at least 20 minutes for the alcohol you have consumed to enter your system. If you have just sipped your drink and immediately conduct a test, the alcohol on your breath will be artificially high – directly impacting the accuracy of the results.”

Simple Decision, Massive Response

Aside from gaining positive press through Shark Tank, Breathometer’s collaboration with Uber has taken the innovation to new levels.

Charles Michael Yim, Breathometer’s CEO, says that it was a simple decision to use Uber in the app. In fact, it was “one of the most frequently requested features from our early customers… Having to call a friend or schedule a cab isn’t always an easy choice. Access to a dependable and on-demand ride solution directly from the app for anyone that has been consuming alcohol is critical.”

Since the integration, results have been phenomenal! Breathometer has seen a 40% increase in user engagement.

Breathometer Spikes After Uber Integration: Five-Month Breathometer App Usage

Beyond that, the numbers don’t lie: Uber’s statistics show that over “42% of users visited the ‘Get Home Safe’ screen when they blew a 0.04 BAC or higher.” And since the launch, over “54% of those users who got to that screen, chose Uber as their safe ride home over the other two options.”

Technology and innovation is at its best when it’s solving problems. And ultimately, that’s exactly what this innovation is about: providing safety and saving the many thousands of lives that are ended each year through reckless drunk driving.

Where innovation meets investing,

Nikia Wade

Nikia Wade

, Technology Correspondent

View More By Nikia Wade