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Ocean City

App just might keep you from driving drunk

(Dec. 26, 2014) The Maryland Highway Safety Office recently launched its own app, ENDUI (End DUI), an informational tool that state officials hope will inspire revelers to make and stick to evening plans.

“Even good people make bad decisions,” Tom Gianni, chief of the Maryland Highway Safety Office said, “We want to provide the tools to get people home safely.”

The app is available on iOS and Android devices for free. In it, users may take a reflex test to gauge their reaction time to certain stimuli such as pedestrians, braking cars or bicyclists. When a hazard appears, the user is prompted to touch a button to stop the vehicle. Based on the elapsed time, the app calculates stopping distance and reaction time.

Another feature is a road sign pattern-recognition game reminiscent of the old Simon or any number of other memory games.

The app includes a simulated blood alcohol level measurement. By entering personal information such as gender and weight, plus the amount, type and volume of drinks consumed over a given time period, the application will determine a good-faith estimate of the user’s blood alcohol level.

“It’s an estimator with a capital E,” Gianni said, “There are no substitutes for the tech law enforcement uses.”

If the blood-alcohol level of the user exceeds the legal limit, the app suggests calling a cab or finding a designated driver.

“We want people to make a plan and stick to it,” Gianni said.

Within the app are functions to locate convenient cab companies or call friends. There is also a simple tool for reporting a drunk driver while on the roads, although calling while driving is discouraged.

“Impairment begins with the first drink,” Gianni said, noting that it takes some time for imbibed alcohol to register in a test. While the app might report that two double shots of 151-proof rum within the last 15 minutes might not put a user over the legal limit in theory, the practice might return different results.

Gianni said within the past two weeks ENDUI has been downloaded 20,000 times, and most of the feedback has been positive. Through iOS and Android’s respective stores, the app has been reviewed about 40 times with generally negative reviews.

Users report problems with the interface, an irritating amount of popups and disclaimers and the expenditure of taxpayer funds to produce the app.

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