An iPod Breathalyzer Just in Time for New Year’s?

A California company thinks it has come up with a solution for Apple-inclined customers curious about how drunk they are after putting a few back.

For $79, those of you with iPhones and iPods can purchase a breathalyzer that will, within five seconds, deliver a number said to be your blood alcohol content.

Proponents call it a device that could save lives. Opponents see it as a false sense of security (photo by coolmaterial.com).

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company’s CEO had this to say about the device:

“We don’t want people to think that this makes it all OK,” said Don Bassler, CEO and founder of David Steele Enterprises, to The Los Angeles Times. “But it’s a safety device that we hope people will use, and it may save lives.”

Here’s the view of Marsha Masters, head of the Kitsap chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers:

“What a crazy idea, and who will be held accountable when the machine says they’re under the limit, but they are still really impaired, then crash, injure or kill someone?”

She lives with this simple mantra: “If you drink, don’t drive, if you drive, don’t drink!”

Where do you fall? Is this device useful or dangerous?

15 thoughts on “An iPod Breathalyzer Just in Time for New Year’s?

  1. I don’t see this as a good idea for several reasons.
    1. How can a person be sure it’s calibrated correctly
    2. It could give a false sence of security.
    3. There is NO LEGAL LIMIT. A person can be charged with DUI or worse under .08, it happens all the time.
    4. If you take Marsha’s good advise, why spend the money on something like this, you won’t need it.

  2. On this subject, there isn’t any better advice than don’t drink and drive. I don’t think a technology is either good or bad, its the user. Moreover, all of the problems thus far pointed out will likely cause the market (us) to realize what the technology is – a party favor – something to pass around and see who is the most lite up – now that could cause problems:(

  3. ““What a crazy idea…”

    I think it is a GREAT IDEA! It sure beats what we have now – NOTHING!

    She lives with this simple mantra: “If you drink, don’t drive, if you drive, don’t drink!”…”

    Ms Masters, it doesn’t matter what mantra your or I live with…the drunks are out there driving and killing people.

    I can see where buying this gadget would be very useful at parties, checking people to get their level of condition… or as the host to check my guests as they left.
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. The point is Sharon that a person doesn’t have to be “drunk” to be impaired. While you may accept the death of even one person because of someones choice to drink and drive MADD never will. NHTSA reports around 3,000 people are killed every year by drivers under a .08 BAC. A devise like this could cause more people to drive impaired just because it says they are under a .08 and throw common sence out the window. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with a gun that is fully loaded or a gun that has one bullet.

  5. I don’t believe that Sharon is implying in any way that she accepts the death of even one person. I don’t believe the majority of us feel this way, myself included. With that said, I am not convinced either that this device is a viable solution to the problem of drinking and driving.

    I don’t know if we, in our lifetime, will ever see a significant decline in people drinking and driving. That is a statement of fact, whether we like it or not. People drinking and driving has been going on since the inception of the vehicle and it will require our automakers becoming huge team players in getting vehicles on the market that have devices installed as standard equipment to prevent you from driving when you have been drinking. Lawmakers making it mandatory to have these devices installed on our current vehicles, for everyone. I don’t know if this has ever been addressed with our automakers and lawmakers or where it stands, if it was addressed.

    Sure it is very easy to say your mantra of, “If you drink, don’t drive, if you drive, don’t drink!”, it is very difficult for a great deal of people to follow through and hear themselves.

  6. I am suggesting that this devise may well be better than anything we have to date – nothing.
    It gives no one permission to drink and drive.

    At the very least, it would give folks pause to think about their actions or non actions in regard to letting their friends and family drink and drive.

    It stimulates more conversation about drinking and driving …all to the good of drunk awareness. The drunk driving awareness is slowly changing our ways of doing things…people I know do take turns as the ‘designated driver’…something that was once unheard of…people ARE taking responsibility for their actions AND the actions of their friends.

    Fewer juries are bold faced tolerant of drunks, same with judges.
    So, in my opinion such a devise might well save a life, not lose one…simply by having one or talking about it.
    Sharon O’Hara

    Thank you, Michele for understanding that I don’t ‘accept’ even one death.

  7. I appologize to Sharon for my statement. Of course you wouldn’t “accept” even one death because of DUI – I’ve read your postings long enough to know better. I get really angry on the subject of DUI and I will try to proofread better before I hit the button.
    After doing some searching on this ipod thing, one of the concerns is that underaged people could use this as not a tool but as a game, who can get drunk faster or how much can you drink. This also comes with an added feature to be able to send your music to an FM reciever so there is more reason to buy this thing than just the breath test and a reason to market to underaged persons.
    Car companies have been in the process of developing devises for quite awhile, Toyota seems to be the leader in developing something that would indicate alchohol through the steering wheel and other things. Now that would be something to support fully, in my opinion.

  8. I fully support car companies development of something to deter a DUI from driving… but it isn’t here and may never arrive.
    How many folks will be willing to pay extra for such a device on their car?

    The point is that the iPod Breathalyzer is here now.

    The complainers seem similar to the anti-seatbelt people fighting against the mandatory use of seat belts.

    “What a crazy idea, and who will be held accountable when the machine says they’re under the limit, but they are still really impaired, then crash, injure or kill someone?”

    And who will be responsible when the machine says they’re over the limit and lives are saved when the person refuses to drive impaired?
    Sharon O’Hara

  9. For those who don’t have an ipod there are portable breathalizers available on line for purchase. The prices vary but they have been available for purchase for a long long time. Anyone can buy one.

  10. What are the portable Breathalyzers, who makes them and where do people get them?

    I think the iPod has a reputation for working quality – as do others in their class.
    I would have more tendency to buy something connected with a product I’m familiar with…but whatever works, works.

    What is the name of the ones you mention and have they been tested too?
    Sharon O’Hara

  11. Well ipod and apple didn’t make this. It’s made by a company called David Steele Enterprises.
    You can start with some of these sites:
    safety-devices.com/
    breath-tester.com
    alcotester.com
    breathalyzer.net
    If it is just a breathalyzer you want there are many out there, have been for a long time and the prices go from $30 – $500 or more. Some schools use them and they are usually the least expensive because for underage people there is a 0 tollerance so anything registered is a no no.

  12. Here is another link to a USA Today article concerning interlocks and devices in cars:
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2006-04-24-breathalyzer-usat_x.htm
    I think that ipods largest target group of consumers is youth and quite possibly the reason that they aren’t offering just a breathalizer but one with the added feature of the FM reciever with it. People may use the breathalizer in the way it is intended or it could turn into a “drinking game”. We already have plenty of drinking games on the market that many of us in prevention oppose. In anycase breathalizers are available without having to buy an ipod. I have purchased them before for other organizations but don’t find I need one for myself as I don’t drink and drive and no one who visits my home is allowed to drink and drive from my home. It’s just a very simple rule that we live by. Don’t drink and drive.

  13. Sorry for posting so much but for a real eye opener Google ‘ipod drinking game’ and see what comes up. Even I was amazed.

  14. Thank you, fedup!
    You’ve just posted information blogging was meant to do…inform and educate.
    I had no idea these devises existed.
    Don’t drink and don’t drive is easy…for those of us who don’t.
    Trouble is unless they are only going to crash, main or kill other drunk drivers…we’ve got to stop them.

    Drinkers usually can’t admit they are impaired, so why not make those they party with, friends and family, bars…responsible for the impaired driver driving.

    A breathalyser could be the deal breaker…if it is close or over tell the impaired driver they mustn’t drive. If they insist call 911 and report a drunk on the road.

    The first offense should be the toughest, a real memory lock not to drink and drive.

    Their car/s impounded and sold…including family cars.
    Let the family get involved to stop the drunk, not continue to enable the drank to keep drinking and driving…killing the innocent, hurting other people.

    The innocent children and adults deserve our protection more than the drunk driver needs our protection.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

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