Are you too drunk to drive? DOT has an app for that [La Crosse Tribune, Wis.]
(La Crosse Tribune (WI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 16--A new smart phone app aims to prevent drunken driving arrests, crashes and deaths this St. Patrick's Day weekend.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation's free "Drive Sober" app allows users to estimate blood alcohol levels, select a designated driver and find taxi numbers for a safe ride home.
"It's another example of trying to get the message out to people that there are many alternatives to driving impaired," said Randy Romanski, safety programs chief for the Bureau of Transportation Safety.
It's the first time the organization has tried to reach people with cellphone technology, State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable said.
Users can estimate alcohol levels by entering their gender, weight and how many drinks consumed by hour.
"The important thing to remember is everyone metabolizes alcohol differently," Romanski said. "The estimator is only an estimator."
The app uses GPS to provide nearby cab numbers and bus schedules. It also features local weather and impairment goggles to demonstrate the effects of alcohol.
More than 8,000 people had downloaded the app by Thursday, Romanski said. At least one other state has a similar program, which Wisconsin began developing in October.
Law enforcement statewide is stepping up enforcement as police predict heavy turnout with St. Patrick's Day falling on a weekend. La Crosse police expect higher than usual attendance downtown, but cold weather could impact crowds, Sgt. Randy Rank said.
Four people died on Wisconsin roads St. Patrick's Day weekend last year, according to the state patrol.
Huxtable reminds users the "Drive Sober" app is available every weekend -- not just for St. Patrick's Day.
"Impaired driving is a significant problem on our roadways," she said. "We're not telling people not to party. We're telling them to find a safe way home after they party."
(c)2013 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.)
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