The Quality and Accuracy of Mobile Apps to Prevent Driving After Drinking Alcohol PMC

September 26, 20223:36 pm

Therefore, the information section of the MARS scale was not solely presented as a mean score, but also as individual items, so that scores of the quality and quantity of information could be reviewed separately . Systematic search of drink driving prevention apps selected for MARS analysis. Many studies regarding the effects of alcohol on health have been performed. Although there are some studies that support the conventional wisdom that a glass of red wine a day can have potential health benefits, these claims have not been rigorously proven. While some people may experience certain health benefits as a result of consuming some alcohol daily, not all people will, and the benefits do not come without risk.

Giroux D, Bacon S, King DK, Dulin P, Gonzalez V. Examining perceptions of a smartphone-based intervention system for alcohol use disorders. Compton R, Blomberg R, Moskowitz H, Burns M, Peck R, Fiorentino D. Crash rate of alcohol impaired driving. Sixteenth International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety ICADTS; 2002; Montreal.

We know of only two other real, full-fledged BAC calculators, but even they take fewer factors into account than our calculator. Alcohol elimination time is calculated on the basis of your personal characteristics. This value is used to determine when you will be able to drive. The minimum, average, and maximum times are general calculations without regard for particular parameters. You can enter strengths of 0.5 to 96% and volumes of 50 to 10,000 ml. If you consumed over 10,000 ml of one beverage, insert the remaining volume in the next field.

When you can drive after drinking alcohol

Apps needed to be available in the Australian app store , as the enforced Australian BAC limit is 0.05 for open license holders. Apps related to other jurisdictions BAC limits or related detection (eg, providing information about achieving a 0.08 limit such as in the United States or how to pass sobriety tests) were excluded. Inclusion criteria were apps that either directly targeted drink driving prevention or apps that included information about alcohol use and its role in drink driving. Eligible apps included information about drink driving, regardless of whether drink driving prevention was the primary or secondary purpose of the app. Although this study provides novel results, there are also limitations that should be considered.


You should remember that zero blood alcohol content alone does not give you the right to drive. You have been redirected to because you entered a date below the legal drinking age in the U.S. Join us in starting a lifetime of conversations are alcoholism and drug addiction disabilities around alcohol responsibility – keep reading to learn more. Drunk Calc’s main purpose is to help reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities on the road. One of the many ways we achieve this is by having a zero-tolerance approach to driving while drunk.

Fast Blood Alcohol Level Estimate

In addition, while the “Widmark” formula was the most commonly noted basis for BAC calculations in the apps reviewed, a number of apps failed to indicate what formula was in use or how they arrived at their BAC value at all. This was concerning not only due to the ambiguity of app’s calculations but also in conjunction with high app downloads and positive user reviews. This suggests a user’s choice of app may be influenced by factors beyond calculation method transparency or accuracy. Drinking and driving remains a significant public health issue globally despite ongoing prevention efforts . Alcohol intoxication is linked to slowed reaction time, difficulties in multitasking, reduced attention span, and dulled senses, which greatly reduce the ability to drive safely . Australia is considered a world leader in legislation for drink driving prevention, with national random breath testing and a set 0.05 blood alcohol content limit for open class license holders.

For other apps, only an amount closest to 1 standard drink could be entered, thus accuracy of calculators could be skewed due to the inability to input standard drink data. However, apps included the ability to input the time taken to consume the beverage , which should have added to the accuracy of BAC measurement. A number of apps also included the ability to indicate the degree of food consumption ; however, additional accuracy of such apps was not examined in detail. Comparison of MARS subscale means and standard deviations in parenthesis, between alcohol management and drink driving prevention apps.


The quality of apps was assessed and then calculators in drink driving prevention apps were analyzed for accuracy. The key issue we found in calculator apps was their potential inaccuracy based on the formula they used. The “Widmark” formula is a predictive mathematical equation that was developed in 1932 that has largely been used forensic toxicologists to determine approximate BAC after a fatality for court proceedings . There is a large and growing body of evidence that these calculations provide misleading and inaccurate information by underestimating actual BAC levels [24-26]. This is a concern particularly as the proportion of female drink drivers continues to rise . Our results also confirm previous findings in the lack of evidence base and suitable evaluation for alcohol apps , and this should be the focus of future research to determine efficacy.

The Virtual Bar also allows you to customize your drinking experiences to safely learn how alcohol affects you before you start drinking. The Virtual Bar easily and quickly allows you to determine your individual (or that of another person’s) BAC level based on what you drink and how fast you drink, and to see how eating food affects your BAC. About 50% of people who drink in this group have alcohol use disorder. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can significantly impair driving performance and your ability to operate other machinery, whether or not you feel the effects of alcohol. A typical 25-ounce bottle of table wine holds about 5 “standard” drinks, each containing about 5 ounces. This serving size of wine contains about the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce regular beer or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.

Compared to other online alcohol testers

If you’re curious about the legal alcohol limit for driving in your Country, Wikipedia has a list with every Country’s legal limit. It must also be noted that operating system may affect the availability of older or outdated apps. Older iOS apps were often unable to function on newer versions of the operating system and thus were automatically obsolete if not updated. Blood alcohol concentration is a commonly used measure of alcohol intoxication, also known as drunkenness. It is typically expressed as a percentage of alcohol per volume of blood. For example, in the United States , a BAC of 0.08 (0.08%) would translate to 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 mL of blood.

  • Use our calculator to estimate, but don’t forget that everyone metabolizes alcohol differently.
  • Drinking and driving remains a significant public health issue globally despite ongoing prevention efforts .
  • Although they have fewer calories, many light beers have almost as much alcohol as regular beer—about 85% as much, or 4.2% versus 5.0% alcohol by volume, on average.
  • Leading efforts to eliminate drunk driving and working with others to end all impaired driving.

Leading efforts to eliminate drunk driving and working with others to end all impaired driving. The percent alcohol by volume (alc/vol) for distilled spirits is listed on bottle labels and may be found online as well. It is half the “proof,” such that 80-proof spirits is 40% alc/vol. For comparison, regular beer is 5% alcohol by volume (alc/vol), table wine is about 12% alc/vol, and straight 80-proof distilled spirits is 40% alc/vol.

Overall, a person should not begin drinking for potential health benefits. Most importantly, a person should consult their doctor regarding their alcohol consumption to determine what is safe for their particular situation. Therefore, careful scrutiny of each result page for each of the search terms was done before shortlisting and downloading all potentially-relevant apps.

Drink Responsibly

Initially all app titles and where necessary, app descriptions were screened. Apps were excluded if they were non–drink-driving related, duplicate, inaccessible, or not in English language. Those which only measured alcohol in fluid ounces were excluded, as this measurement type is not applicable to the Australian context.

Although they have fewer calories, many light beers have almost as much alcohol as regular beer—about 85% as much, or 4.2% versus 5.0% alcohol by volume, on average. More than 10,000 people in the United States will die this year as a result of drunk driving. Most bac tracking apps tend to overestimate bac and how long it takes to process a drink. these 5 things happen to your brain when you quit drinking The app I use on android in particular, almost 1.5 hr’s for a miller lite would be like the most possible for a small human to process a weak drink. I also have 2 breathalyzers that seem to work well, kind of trust them more than the app. But, this is all just for if I drink a lot one night then have to drive at like noon the next day.

Alcohol and health

Apps providing blood alcohol calculators (hereafter “calculators”) were reviewed against current alcohol advice for accuracy. Driving after the consumption of alcohol represents a significant problem globally. Individual prevention countermeasures such as personalized mobile apps aimed at preventing such behavior are widespread, but there is little research on their accuracy and evidence base. There has been no known assessment investigating the quality of such apps.

During their assessments, medical assessors use the same formulas and guidelines we used to develop our BAC Calculator. However, in the context of a court case, medical assessors use the coefficients that are most beneficial for the defendant. In cases when a traffic accident took place several hours before blood was taken from the accused, the minimum alcohol elimination rate used is 0.01%/hour. But if it is to be demonstrated that at the time of the accident the accused was not responsible for their actions, the maximum rate is 0.02%/hour. Unfortunately, medical assessors don’t always use accurate formulas and often select the average values of coefficients included in the regulations. Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, refers to the percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream, and can be measured within minutes after drinking.

You put in all your stAts, it has like every drink possible so you put that in along with how many ounces and it will tell you when you will blow under the legal limit and at complete zero. We designed our BAC Calculator by studying and taking into account all the factors and methods used in global forensic medicine. We first do older people react differently to alcohol rolled out our calculator in 2010, and it has long been available to a limited number of persons in the form of a special Java-based program. During this time, the accuracy of its calculations has been repeatedly confirmed in practice. This “increased risk” category contains three different drinking pattern groups.

I believe i have a good tolerance which is what messed me up and put me in this situation. I mean i didnt wreck or kill anyone but still i guess my driving wasnt perfect. Pagoto S, Bennett GG. How behavioral science can advance digital health. Severe inhibition of central nervous functions, loss of consciousness, risk of coma or even death. You may experience uncontrolled urination, impaired breathing, and complete loss of balance.

A total of 2907 apps were identified through keyword searches. Of them, 58 were eligible for MARS evaluation at the final stage. Of these, 22 (38%) were developed by single developers and the remaining 36 (62%) were developed by institutions or businesses. The mean number of downloads for alcohol management apps was 7440 and the mean number of downloads for drink driving prevention apps was 27,266 .

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