What’s up with the drunk driving apps? That’s what many law makers were asking when apps by the three leading smartphones began to surface that allowed users to see where DUI checkpoints were and avoid them. Driving while intoxicated is a deadly occurrence across our nation. In fact according to The Century Council: Distillers Fighting Drunk Driving & Underage Drinking the number of drunk driving fatalities has actually decreased 44% nationally, and 58% among the underage.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the year 2009 33,808 people died in traffic crashes of those 10,839 were killed by a person with a BAC of .08 or greater. How does NYS fair? In 2009 there were 321 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in NYS. There were 45 deaths of those under 21. According to The Century Council report on NYS from 1999 to 2009 there was a 9.7% decrease in fatalities among all ages and 27.8% decrease for those under 21.
A decrease sounds promising right, maybe not. Among the hard core drunk driveers, meaning their BAC (blood alcohol content) was higher than .15, they accounted for 66% of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. When the numbers are considered it’s quite eye opening, BAC’s between .08-.14 accounted for 31% of deaths and BAC’s of .15 and higher accounted for 69% of alcohol related deaths. That means that in approximately 70% of alcohol related traffic deaths the impaired driver has a BAC of more than .15%.
The numbers show that NY has reason for concern when it comes to impaired driving, in fact according to MADD NYS ranks 11th in states for drunk driving. In come the Apps that four senators are opposed to, including WNY’s own Charles Schumer. The point of the apps was to alert those that may be intoxicated or impaired where the police had set up sobriety checkpoints. According to a USA Today article the senators along with others have succeeded in getting the apps removed from the three smartphones marketplace.
In NY The Century Council reports that 36,093 people were arrested for driving under the influence in 2009. Erie County Stop DWI reports that in 2008 3,467 people were arrested for DWI, the highest since 2001. This examiner took to Facebook for an unofficial, nonscientific poll of WNYer’s. There is an app called “Show me my buzz” in which people can blow into the microphone of their smartphone and the app is supposed to tell you whether it’s safe to drive. According to the WNYer’s polled the majority of the people said no they would not use an app like this. One person commented “I don’t drink and drive. No app necessary”. Two people found it funny that there was an app for this.
Deaths from driving impaired is completely preventable and an app isn’t necessary, simply not drinking and driving is the easiest way to prevent a tragic death and or a permanent mark on your driving record. Many people plan their night out and know before they leave if they are going to be drinking. In that case a designated driver can be sought out or you can use one of the driving/taxi services out there, such as Designated Driver of Buffalo.
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