The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced “a bold set of targeted interventions to put the country on a course to eliminate alcohol-impaired driving crashes.” Basically, this means persuading or coercing states, over time, to towards 0.0 as the allowable BAC to drive. The NTSB claims that:
Today, investigators cited research that showed that although impairment begins with the first drink, by 0.05 BAC, most drivers experience a decline in both cognitive and visual functions, which significantly increases the risk of a serious crash.
On Friday, I went to BevMo for some adult beverages for the holiday weekend. Three different breweries offered tastings, from run of the mill IPAs to exotic chocolate one-offs with 10% ABVs. I didn’t sample everything, but I knew I sampled some high test beers in that 20 minutes. Whoo!
Then it was time to check in with the home office. I have an Android phone, with speech to text, so I spoke my message. I have had the phone for a while, so it has adapted to my speech patterns pretty effectively. Mostly. Then this happened:
Your fone 50 working fine. I was offline fertile bad at bevmo, king all f***ed up
(Your phone is working fine. I was offline for a while then at bevmo, getting all f***ed up)
Maybe smartphones are the answer for self-screening. Maybe someone could develop an app that applied a coherence standard to its user’s speech, the way that word processor software can assess the reading level of written text. If you talk to the machine and the transcription exceeds a certain threshold of gibberish, the app would warn you that maybe it’s time for a taxi.
Yes, there are hurdles: background noise, uncalibrated users, overreaching software/EULAs that cause the phone to alert nearby cops to your failed self-test. And, of course, enterprising prosecutors will try to use your self-diagnosis against you in court. For law abiding citizens just trying to be safe, maybe this is not such a bright idea.