Gadget turns smartphones into personal breathalyzers

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PURCELL, Okla. - Excessive alcohol can fuel all sorts of really bad decisions. Most would agree, getting behind the wheel while under the influence is one of the worst.

Every 51 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies in a drunk driving accident.

What if you could pre-empt that potential DUI accident or arrest by measuring your own blood alcohol content before even entering the vehicle?

We found a $15 attachment on Ebay that turns your smartphone into a personal breathalyzer.

Concerned citizen, Melissa Turmel said, "It will tell you whether or not you've had too much to drink. That's awesome. I think that's a really good idea. I think everyone should have one. "

Blow into the device and your BAC reading is displayed on your phone; Green for normal. Yellow for caution. Red for danger.

Under the close supervision of Purcell PD, we ran several tests inside the police station.

Off Duty Lt. Ron Westbrook was our designated drinker. We gave him a controlled amount of alcohol, then waited.

Lt. Westbrook was first tested with a standard, police issue portable breathalyzer. He registered .059.  The results were almost identical on the State's "Intoxilyzer".

Then we tested our inexpensive iPhone alcohol tester. The readings were not accurate. The smartphone breathalyzer showed a .03, which is only about half the police department's calibrated equipment.

Authorities say the devices should be considered a cheap novelty, nothing more. You should never trust a personal breathalyzer to tell you whether or not you're too drunk to drive.

Purcell Police Sgt. Joe Santmyer said, "Not worth betting my life on or somebody else's.  Absolutely not."

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