Maryland is the first state in the U.S. to have created an app to prevent drunk driving by giving drivers games to play, writes RT.com. The two games test a driver’s reactions. One of the games imitates actual driving situations, asking the driver to press a red “brake” button if the car ahead stops or a pedestrian passes, RT writes.
The app, called ENDUI (pronounced End DUI), was developed by the Maryland Highway Safety Office, writes Jessica Hyndman for MTV News. It cost $52,215 to produce, according to Erin Henson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation. RT reports that it was funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with federal money designated for drunk-driving educational efforts.
As Hyndman writes, the United States Department of Transportation reported that 10,322 people died last year as a result of drunk driving accidents involving a driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, which accounted for 31% of all traffic deaths. In Maryland, 152 people died because of drunk driving crashes, Hyndman writes. According to MADD, 160 people were killed because of drunk driving accidents in Colorado in 2012.
Hyndman explains how drivers introduce themselves to the app:
Within the app users enter their weight and gender and then track the number and type of alcoholic drinks they’ve consumed within a specific timeframe. That information allows a simple equation to estimate the user’s BAC. Anything over a .08 is no-go for getting behind the wheel.
ENDUI also functions as a hand-held sobriety testing device, with games that test a driver’s reaction times and ability to focus on road signs, Hyndman writes. It shows that even with a BAC level lower than the legal limit, a driver can be too impaired to drive. The app makes it easy to call a cab or a friend to act as a sober driver when it shows you are too inebriated to drive, Hyndman writes. And ENDUI makes it possible for a user to report local drunk drivers with the push of a button, according to a press release from Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration.
RT writes that Colorado, California, New York, and New Mexico have their own versions of free apps to prevent drunk driving, but their apps do not feature games, as Maryland’s does. The Google Play store says the only official Colorado driving app is the one called CDOT Mobile. The description says that the location-based app provides travelers with:
•speeds and travel times •road conditions •incidents and road closures •road work to include construction and maintenance activities •and data from CDOT’s closed circuit television cameras
Kara Macek, a spokeswoman for the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, calls ENDUI “unique” and said she thinks more states will be introducing apps for safer driving, RT writes. “I think states are starting to go that route because they’re trying to reach consumers where they are and where they spend time, and everyone spends time on their phone,” Macek told RT. The ENDUI app is free to download for iPhone and Androids, RT writes.