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Technology competition comes up with new ideas to combat drunk driving

In 2015, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism launched a competition to encourage technology start-up companies and universities to submit wearable devices to curb drunken driving rates. The companies came up with several wrist-worn devices that measure blood alcohol content. Blood alcohol content is the primary measurement to determine if a person is too intoxicated to drive. The winning and runner-up devices were produced by companies that hail from San Francisco.

 

The various companies were competing for a $200,000 grand and smaller second place prize. BACtrack won the grand prize with an accurate smart-watch-like bracelet called Skyn that tracks BAC levels through sweat. This device was lauded for its accuracy and ease of use. The BAC level is displayed on the "watch face".

Second place was won by Milo that designed a similar wrist-worn device that measured sweat however this device beamed the results to a companion app on your smartphone. This device collects your sweat into a removable and disposable cartridge.

It is believed that these devices will enable drivers to avoid drinking and driving. It will likely take several months or years for these products to hit the market or even become integrated into drunken driving sentencing procedures, like ignition interlock devices. In the meantime, drivers who are pulled over and tested with the current processes may face serious consequences if they are found to have been driving while legally intoxicated.

If you are facing drunken driving charges then you may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney. He or she may be able to offer an alternative sentencing structure that avoids jail time or even felony charges. The courts are generally more lenient for first-time offenders and offenses that did not cause an injury but do not take that as gospel. You could get an over-eager prosecutor or judge that may want to make an example out of you. An attorney can help ensure that you get treated fairly.

 

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