The perfect gift for the holidays (daze?) has hit the market: The iBreath Breathalyzer & FM Transmitter that fits onto iPods and iPhones. Before you get behind the wheel, you can find out if you’ll blow above a .08 BAC (blood alcohol content). Other applications for the iPhone to keep a sober watch on those who overindulge. Taxi Magic will summon a cab at the push of a button (25 cities have it, but not yet New York.) There’s also a Drunk Dial application that makes the caller ace a timed math test to avoid making one of those blubbering calls that lead to regret. And there’s Last Call, for the iPhone, that provides a tool for estimating blood-alcohol content (as well as a list of attorneys who specialize in drunken driving arrests).
Or here’s another idea! Stop this ridiculous social norming of binge drinking and insane alcohol consumption. Instead of trying to sneak in some safety checks under the guise of coolness, make binge drinking uncool. Make keg stands for losers. (At least the Amethyst Initiative, which calls for an open discussion on lowering the drinking age to combat secretive and dangerous binge drinking, has an intellectual element of open discussion of the problem. These products just shrug and give tools to stop irresponsible behavior without even thinking about addressing the behavior.)
The LA Times article on the iBreath technology carries these words of wisdom from Don Bassler of David Steele Enterprises Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif, which created the iBreath, on partying kids:
“You know how they are — they’re going to sneak it if they can. They don’t listen to their parents, but they listen to their iPods.”
Also, the justification for the odd product combo of the iBreath — breathalyzer and FM transmitter (so you can pump your tunes from your iPod to your FM radio while your passed out behind the wheel, apparently) — is designed to up the gizmo’s “cool factor.” You know, it’s for listening to music in the car, not for trying to do the responsible thing ..
Changing behavior, who has time for that?
The press release carries that every important reminder:
Always use a designated driver after drinking alcohol; Don’t Drink and Drive.