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Wearable BAC Sensor May Be the Next Step in Preventing a DUI Arrest

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in DUI

wearable, Elgin DUI defense attorneyThe next time you are at the gym or out for a walk, take a look at the arms of some of the people around you. Almost certainly, you will find that at least a few have a thin strap around their wrists that looks something like a cross between a bracelet and watch band, but with no visible face. There is a very good chance that these straps are fitness trackers in the style of a Fitbit—if not the branded product itself. Over the last decade, fitness trackers have become a multi-billion dollar industry within the "wearable" technology sector. The coming additions to the wearable market, however, will be quite a bit different. It will soon be possible for a strap on your wrist to estimate when you have had too much to drink and to help you get home without being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI).

Government Challenge

In 2015, the National Institute of Health (NIH) invited tech startups and individuals around the country to develop a prototype wearable device capable of measuring blood alcohol content in real time—or as close as possible. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a subagency of the NIH, conducted the challenge to harness the technology being used in wearable fitness trackers and apply it toward reducing alcohol problems and increasing public safety.

This past April, the NIAAA announced the winners of the contest and awarded the top companies with a substantial prize to help fund the development of their new products. The winning device was the BACTrack Skyn, while the Proof by Milo Sensors was the runner-up. Both products are designed to perform similarly by measuring minute amounts of alcohol being secreted through the wearer’s skin and converting the measurement to an estimated blood-alcohol content (BAC). The information can be accessed by the wearer through an app on a smartphone or mobile device.

Educating the Public

While there is certainly the danger that wearable alcohol sensors will be used by some to facilitate "who can get the drunkest" contest, officials at both companies are hopeful that the ultimate result will be an increase in public safety. Evan Strenk, founder and CEO of Milo Sensors said he hopes to "empower people to make educated decisions about alcohol."

Consider a situation in which you have had a few beers with your friends. You feel like you probably could drive home but you happen to be wearing a BAC sensor. When you check the app on your phone, it shows that your BAC is currently .11, well above the legal limit of .08. Instead of leaving immediately, you decide to stay and have a soft drink and a snack—long enough for your BAC to come back down so you can drive home safely.

While a wearable device is no substitute for common sense—and there are no guarantees that a wearable will be 100 percent accurate—the devices certainly seem like they will be very helpful for many people. The first models are expected to hit the market sometime in 2017.

Arrested for DUI?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you could be facing serious criminal penalties and the loss of your driving privileges. Contact an experienced Elgin DUI defense attorney for assistance today. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola and get the help you need.


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