Technology to Determine If You’re Too Impaired to Drive
Driving itself is not so easy - especially when you’re impaired in any way. Fast decision making, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to concentrate are essential to safe driving. But they are the first things to go when you drink, smoke, or impair yourself in another way. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure you’re not too impaired to drive before you get behind the wheel.
Not everyone can avoid drinking or smoking marijuana. Being aware of your levels of intoxication is the next most important step in preventing car accidents. Below are some ways to measure impairment - both by the police and yourself - to help prevent a DUI in Arizona.
Measuring Alcohol Impairment
It’s no secret that drunk driving can have catastrophic consequences. Poor decision making, blurred vision, and drowsiness are just some of the reasons being drunk are especially dangerous behind the wheel.
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle deaths in the United States, with one person dying every 48 minutes in 2017 from impaired driving. Ensuring that you’re safe to drive is crucial to keeping yourself and everyone around you safe.
What Police Are Doing
During a stop for suspicion of drunk driving, you’ll likely complete a field sobriety test. This test includes walking in a straight line, standing on one leg, and following a finger with your eyes. These test your ability to concentrate and your coordination - two major factors in driving safely.
If you happen to fail these tests, a breathalyzer may be used to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). These machines measure the prevalence of alcohol in your breath when you blow into them, providing a number that can be measured effectively. If your number is .08% or above, you’re over the legal limit. If you are over the limit, you are subject to charges for a DUI in Arizona.
What You Can Do
If you’ve had anything to drink within a few hours of driving, you may be too impaired to drive. However, due to the poor decision making alcohol can encourage, you need a third-party opinion to give you the green or red light.
You can also consider getting an app like Druid that will measure your reaction time and cognitive ability to tell you your impairment level. Your short-term memory will be tested with puzzles that can gauge critical thinking skills. Tapping tests will ensure your motor skills are functional enough. All of these tests cover impairment from multiple sources, so it’s an excellent tool to have.
Measuring Marijuana and Other Impairments
While just about everyone understands that driving while drunk is incredibly dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal, the same awareness cannot always be expected about other impairments.
Despite being taken less seriously than alcohol, driving under the influence is proven to be dangerous no matter what causes the impairment. Marijuana intoxication causes delayed reaction time or poor decision making.
However, things aren’t as clear as they are when measuring blood alcohol content. There is no way for yourself or law enforcement to measure precisely how high you are. It comes down to how much you are affected. While you may believe you are safe to drive (just like many drunk drivers), your level of impairment may be more evident to someone else.
What Police Are Doing
When it comes to testing for THC - the primary cause of non-alcoholic DUI in Arizona and the United States, there is no perfect solution. Breathalyzers cannot currently detect marijuana consumption or THC levels. THC can last in the saliva or blood for hours or even days in some cases, providing skewed results on blood or saliva tests. A combination of field tests and medical testing will be used to determine if you’re too impaired to drive - and it still won’t be 100% accurate!
What You Can Do
Your main goal should be to stop driving if you don’t feel awake or alert enough to drive safely. To measure this, you can use an app like Otorize that prompts you to complete tests and then scores your results to tell you whether you’re too impaired to drive.
If you’re in the safe zone but still had a reason to check the app, proceed with caution. If you don’t pass, hand the keys over or call a car service!
The Future of Impairment Testing
Determining your level of impairment isn’t easy to do alone – or particularly scientifically accurate outside of BAC testing. To combat this, scientists and researchers are working on different ways to gauge your driving ability. While the Otorize and Druid apps we’ve mentioned are a good start, they still have a long way to go. Tapping a phone and driving are very different activities.
As part of developing new ways for law enforcement and you to measure impairment, smartphone technology, and sensors are being used in apps and other programs for testing. This way, as technology advances, there are more data points to consider in giving an accurate diagnosis of impairment.
For example, analyzing your walking pattern such as the speed, you’re traveling, or your gait with an accelerometer can identify if your balance or coordination is compromised. Your phone’s microphone and speech analysis may also be able to indicate slurred speech that comes with alcohol intoxication.
Impairment testing isn’t perfect. But as research progresses and new technology becomes available, more tests to help you know when it's safe to drive will be developed. For now, it is safest to avoid driving if you have done anything that may cause impairment. It’s simply not worth it!
Avoid a DUI in Arizona with Springboard Recovery
Driving with an impairment is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible, and while the best way to avoid driving under the influence is to avoid drugs, that’s not always possible alone. If you suffer from an addiction that puts you at a higher risk of impaired driving, seek addiction treatment in Arizona from expert rehabilitation specialists.
No matter your substance of choice, SpringBoard Recovery’s premier drug and alcohol treatment facility can help you recover from addiction. Contact us today before you become another car accident statistic.