Find by category:

Exhaust Notes

Your smartphone can test your blood-alcohol level

Plug-in device and app will work together to tell you when you shouldn’t drive after drinking.

By Douglas Newcomb Mar 13, 2013 1:17PM

Had a drink or two and not sure whether you should drive? Now there’s an app for that. Or at least there will be soon.

Breathometer, a California start-up, has developed what it calls the world’s first smartphone blood-alcohol tester. It’s a small device that plugs into a smartphone’s headphone jack and works with an application to alert drivers when they’re over the legal limit for blood-alcohol content and shouldn’t drive.

Breathometer launched an Indiegogo crowdsourced funding campaign in hopes of raising money to produce the product and allow anyone interested to order it. Pledge levels range from $20 for a Breathometer device to $500 for a lifetime upgrade of all Breathometer products.

The Breathometer will work with iPhone and Android smartphones. In addition to informing imbibers that they could be too impaired to drive, the smartphone app will also include information on local transportation such as cab companies. The company said that it is seeking FDA approval for the Breathometer, that a patent is pending and that the product should be available by the summer.

While having a Breathometer and its companion smartphone app might be a good way to ensure you’re not driving while over the legal limit, there are plenty of other devices to measure blood-alcohol content, some of which sell for as little as $30 and fit on a keychain. Non-electronic crystal-based breath analyzers are available for less than $3.

But if you want to be truly safe, it’s best not to drink at all when you’ll be driving.

[Source: Breathometer]

Mar 14, 2013 11:33AM
they need an app to tell you where the check points are
Mar 14, 2013 11:40AM
Not drinking and driving is a better way to avoid DUIs.
Mar 14, 2013 5:17AM
Maybe they could make one that tells you when you should floss and brush as well. Some people don't seem to be aware that they need it!
Mar 14, 2013 11:30AM
Seems like a legit idea until people misuse it or blow a .07, go driving, get pulled over, blow a .08 on the cops breathalyzer, get arrested and then the lawsuits against this company start.
Mar 14, 2013 11:55AM

Not very cool because the "smart phones" are grid tied and can track your location within a few feet so if you "blow" into the smart phone then the tracking starts...Talk about self incrimination...


Get Smart about Smart phones, Smart meters, and any "Smart" devices.


No, No, NO...

Mar 14, 2013 11:23AM
They've had standalone $30 breathalyzers at Walgreens for over 15 years, and still people get popped. Trust me, the user interface (little blower toy) has a face lift, the result (number of DWIs and DUIs) will remain at a constant. NOTHING will change.
Mar 14, 2013 12:00PM
This should not be endorsed for Drunk Driving, this should be endorsed for Drunk Dialing...Drinking and driving is not safe, but neither is drinking and calling your ex!!!!
Mar 14, 2013 11:47AM
This makes the assumption that if someone were to blow higher than the limit they would then make the "smart" choice to go and find an alternative method of transportation. So my question is this, why not just make that decision no matter how much you have had to drink? Not buying this rediculous item would be more money for beer!
Mar 14, 2013 1:56PM
I agree drunk driving is a problem. So is texting and driving. I do not see anyone getting upset when someone texting and driving kills innocent people. I have taken car keys from people who were too drunk to drive and I wish I could do the same to people who drive and text.
Mar 14, 2013 12:20PM

This is comical. Blow into the app, the state cops know exactly where you are via GPS and wait for you to drive away.  You can buy state of the art small portable device you blow in to and keep in your car.  If you are above, get the F out and wait until reading comes down or call a cab.

Mar 14, 2013 11:50AM
Love threads like this, its easy to identify all the drunks.
Mar 14, 2013 12:33PM
Should be used to stop "drunk dials" and drunken late night texts!
Mar 14, 2013 2:15PM
I got your app right here and it's free

%BAC = (A x 5.14/W x r) - .015 x H

Do the math and you'll know if your over the limit.

Can't do the math?  Definitely don't drive.
Mar 14, 2013 1:58PM
Who needs an app?   What happened to using your brain when drinking and who would use an app if they don't use their brain to begin with?
Mar 14, 2013 1:56PM
People don't buy this kind of product to really decide if they should drive or not.  They buy it as a novelty item.  Its a toy that everyone plays with at the party and then end up driving home anyway regardless of what their BAC was.  When are people going to grow up?  How about if you even have to think about testing yourself before you get behind the wheel then you just don't do it.  Its that simple....
Mar 17, 2013 4:43AM
If you feel the need to use this devise then you shouldn't be risking everyone else lives by driving anyways ****es!
Mar 15, 2013 10:06AM
Most of the people who have the sense to test themselves already have enough sense to know even WITHOUT this device. The ones who REALLY need it won't bother to USE it even if they have it!
Mar 14, 2013 1:57PM
Don't get a smart phone. GPS, and the contracts will screw you. Save the money on the contract for your cab ride home. And, Since you'll not be using your smart phone at the bar, you'll have better conversations and enjoy the music much more without the distractions. Or whatever.
Mar 14, 2013 12:52PM
I agree with WHO DIS the city of Ce-Elum Washington has paid for its police force and all there equipment with DUI money for over 10 years and they have some of the best state of the art stuff and new cars every year
Mar 14, 2013 2:31PM
drunks will always to stupid or to drunk to use this in the first place !!!
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Cars are cool, and we here at MSN Autos love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world. Contact us at