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In the United States alone, approximately 32 people die in drunk-driving automobile accidents every day. That’s one person every 45 minutes falling victim to completely preventable drunk driving car crashes. Not to mention, over 2% of adults in the U.S. have a DUI on their record.

The latest technology from Apple could actually keep people from getting DUIs and save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in property loss and medical bills. Is it possible that your smartphone could do all this and what would that look like?

Apple’s iPhone Breathalyzer Patent

In 2020, Apple made their CarKey feature available to users as a replacement key for cars from BMW. Building on that technology, Apple revealed plans to add an infrared spectrometer capable of acting as a personal breathalyzer. 

The breathalyzer works by comparing data about typical blood alcohol and ammonia levels with a breath test to compare the individual’s blood alcohol content after a few drinks and before putting the keys in the ignition.

After testing your breath, if the initial results are inconclusive additional tests would be provided to the user. Among these are basic arithmetic questions, reaction time games, and dexterity puzzles to see if you’re too intoxicated to operate a vehicle.

This technology is currently in the works, but Apple hasn’t made an official announcement on when they expect to release it for public use. A lot of unknowns still remain about the specifics, for example, will users be able to turn it off or ignore a failed test, or will they have to pass a test every time they try to drive.

Potential Issues 

Faulty Hardware/Software

With all new technology, there are bugs that need worked out through testing before it can become widely available for use by the public. Even if everything seems to work perfectly during the testing phase, there can still be problems that arise down the road.

Electrical components can malfunction and, if you must pass a proper test to operate your vehicle, you could be locked out even if you aren’t drinking alcohol. 

People also worry that the technology could be intrusive or personal data could be shared with outside parties. Particularly, people are concerned about information being shared with their employers or the government and the data being used against them.

Experts speculate that the Apple breathalyzers could cost as much as one of their iPhones, which would limit the amount of people that could actually afford the technology. Apple will also have to work with other car manufacturers, since BMW is the only brand that currently offers the CarKey tool. 

Upsides of Apple’s Breathalyzer 

Less Drunk Drivers on the Roads

The most obvious upside of the Apple breathalyzer is improved safety for drivers. Preventing drunk drivers from operating motor vehicles will save thousands of lives by preventing accidents and millions of dollars in property damage and increased insurance rates.

Legal Matters

If drivers must prove they are under the legal blood alcohol limit before driving a vehicle, it will save law enforcement from spending time trying to catch drunk drivers. Having proof of a passed test will also allow drivers to prove they were within the legal limits in court cases.

If you find yourself facing a DUI, whether it’s your first offense or you’ve been through the process before, the best thing you can do is hire a lawyer that specializes in DUIs. Experienced defense attorneys at the Moorhead Law Group can help you navigate the often-confusing legal system and give you the best chance at a reduced sentence or having the charges dropped altogether.