Hello? It’s your phone, saying you’re drunk…

Here’s a nifty product that fills a social need: it’s a FREE app that calculates when or if you should drive. While you may think the idea is hokey (or a big “no duh”), it’s biggest draw is that it’s fun to use, even in a crowd at a bar. What could be better than that? As the source quoted in the article says, she was surprised to find that her group’s designated driver was hammered, and when she tried to volunteer to take the wheel, the app proclaimed, “don’t even think about it.” While she was surprised at the time (read: the normal impaired-judgment effect of alcohol), her hangover the next day confirmed the app’s assessment (check out these Doc Gurley Hangover Cures).

But the best part of all? “When she pulled out the iPhone app at a bar the other night, her friends all clamored to take a turn – and the subject was suddenly very much on the table. Ms. Poli, who was taken aback when her friend’s phone pronounced her drunk, sees another advantage: She’s more apt to listen to her phone, she says, than to a friend who tries to take away her keys. The app ‘felt very solid and mathematical and trustworthy,’ Ms. Poli says. ‘And nonjudgmental.'”

Can you read that?

I gotta put down my drink…Can you read that shcreen?

While the idea is, in no way, perfect, it would be nice if even one death is averted tonight. There’s an average, in one day alone, of 54 traffic deaths tonight – imagine if those people were taken out, lined up on the side of the road and shot. And those numbers leave out the people paralyzed, left living in chronic pain, or brain-damaged. And here’s another reason a funky app might be more effective: it’s more likely to appeal to the crowd most at risk.

As the article states, “The problem is especially acute among younger drivers. Federal statistics show that 65% of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes last year were 21 to 34 years old. An additional 17% were under the legal drinking age of 21.” Anything that gets a realistic, destigmatized discussion of who should drive out on the table, is a good thing in my book (or maybe should I say, in my phone).

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Got a thingie on your doohickey? Or are you pondering how to tell your doctor he’s a jerk? Send your burning healthcare questions to Doc Gurley by emailing docgurleyatgmaildotcom. Doc Gurley cannot answer every question, and she cannot practice medicine through a keyboard (not even with her stethoscope pressed firmly against the monitor) but be assured – your questions will be kept strictly confidential and identifying traits are changed.

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