In the past we talked about how former ER patients (as a result of intoxication) were less likely to continue harmful binge-drinking behavior after receiving specially-tailored text messages following discharge from the hospital. But what if it didn’t have to go that far; what if there was a way the problem could be nipped in the bud at the bar, a way to gauge whether you’d had “too much to drink” before you even left the house to meet up with friends? At this point, some of you might have guessed that we’re talking about another pocket-sized Breathalyzer. But this is not your average party favor. BACtrack, the company behind a new kind of device (dubbed ‘Vio’) has promised a game changer when it comes to keeping our streets safe of drunk driving.

According to an article recently published on NPR:

“’Previously there was a stigma with alcohol testing, and we’ve been fighting that stigma,’ says CEO Keith Nothacker, who started the company in 2001 as a college senior, and is now based in San Francisco. ‘We want people to talk about their BAC and not be embarrassed.’”

We live in a day and age where those of us with smart devices can quantify almost anything, from how many hours of sleep we get each night, to how many miles we’ve run in a given workout. At first, the Vio works much like you’d expect. Users blow into a device that syncs with a downloadable app on your phone and tells you what your BAC level is. This can be especially helpful for users who are unsure of whether they should be driving. Here’s where things get interesting: users can actually share their BAC levels with friends and family via the app, simultaneously eliminating the earlier stated stigma about alcohol testing and any excuse you or your friends might throw out about putting lives at risk.

Furthermore, studies conducted by the company showed results that users who practiced awareness of their declining functionality were more likely to make responsible decisions regarding future alcohol use, and even showed an aptitude for knowing where they stood (stumbled?) on the BAC scale from 0.00 to 0.08.

The NPR article goes on to further review the Vio in a much more detail-oriented manner (determining, among other things, that it should not be used to help you decide whether you’re good to drive—better safe than sorry), but suffice to say that once BACtrack gets the device and accompanying app free of most of its bugs, regardless of a lackluster authenticity, we’re excited for any opportunity that reduces the number of alcohol-related deaths… at the expense of a few extra drinks.

What do you think?