News

Breathalyzer ‘selfies’ paint portrait of drinking trends

Breathalyzer ‘selfies’ paint portrait of drinking trends

BAC-TRACKING:Zest's special events manager Lindsy Wing demonstrates their breathalyzer at Zest Kitchen & Bar Friday, Feb. 14, in Salt Lake City. Breathalyzers and similar devices could pop up in more bars across Utah under a coming proposal from Draper Republican Rep. Greg Hughes. The measure is still incubating, but it aims to cut down on drunk driving in Utah. Photo: Associated Press/Rick Bowmer

By Sharon Begley

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The first data from breathalyzer selfies – measurements of blood-alcohol content by a new smartphone app – show that users drank the most on the weekend of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

San Francisco-based breathalyzer manufacturer BACtrack reported on Wednesday that the highest average blood-alcohol content (BAC) from April 2013 to April 2014 was registered on Saturday, June 22, at 0.115 percent. The legal definition for drunk driving is 0.08 percent.

The data shed light on drinking patterns, which can guide highway patrols and others determining when to focus drunk-driving enforcement.

But the primary purpose of the $149.99 BACtrack Mobile, which consists of a breathalyzer that sends readings via Bluetooth to a smartphone and was introduced in 2013, is to raise people’s awareness of how drinking affects their BAC and therefore causes impairment, said BACtrack founder and Chief Executive Officer Keith Nothacker.

BACtrack Mobile data confirmed that one of the most booze-fueled holidays was New Year’s Eve (an average of 0.095), followed by Superbowl Sunday (0.087) and Valentine’s Day (0.081). The average BAC on Mother’s Day (0.069) exceeded that on St. Patrick’s (0.057).

The mobile app is intended to let users check their blood-alcohol content before getting behind the wheel, but 15 percent of the 100,000-plus tests were on friends and others. That seemed wise: tests on friends found an average BAC of 0.085, while selfies averaged 0.066.

Not surprisingly, the highest average BACs were recorded after Saturday-night drinking, when they peaked (0.113) at 4 a.m. on Sunday.

The geography of drinking also offered some surprises. Users in Montana and South Dakota had the highest average BAC, at 0.101 percent, while the lowest were in New Hampshire (0.012), Delaware (0.027), and Utah (0.031), where the dominant Mormon Church forbids alcohol consumption.

But the BACtrack Mobile data jibes with arrests for drunk driving. Montana had the highest number of arrests per capita in 2013. New Hampshire had the lowest.

(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Lisa Shumaker)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Showdown Imminent Over Nurse’s Quarantine

Fresh
KACI-HICKOX-facebook

FORT KENT, Maine (AP) — State officials are seeking a judge's permission to require quarantine for a nurse who's vowed to defy Maine's request for self-isolation after treating Ebola patients in West Africa.

in Local

Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Employers

Fresh
GENERIC MONEY LARGE

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to stealing almost $1 million from two former employers in Maine and New Hampshire.

in Local

Minot Man Gets 12 Years For Arson Rampage

Fresh
Michael_Callahan-600x336

AUBURN, Maine (AP) - A Minot man who went on a rampage last year, setting fire to his home and his estranged wife's home, before ramming her minivan with his truck and attempting to run down a police officer has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

in Local

Mom, Daughter, Plead Guilty In Cemetery Rammings

Fresh
GENERIC CEMETERY LARGE

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A mother and daughter who rammed each other's cars in a Monmouth cemetery, knocking over several headstones, have both pleaded guilty to criminal mischief.

in Local

Orono Man Gets 15 Years For Sexual Abuse Of Boys

Fresh
TRIPP

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — An Orono man charged with sexually abusing several young boys over a period of years has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Tweets

  • 0m
  • 0m
  • 40m
  • 40m
  • 40m
  • 40m
  • 40m