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The Phoenix Open & DUI Apps Don’t Mix

Every year record crowds come to the Valley of the Sun to enjoy the most popular and rowdiest event on the PGA tour. The Phoenix Open, a social hotspot that is better than any festival you may encounter in the Scottsdale area. Taking place during Super Bowl weekend, the Phoenix Open is known to attract enough people to consistently break attendance records, and is filled with live music, games, drinks galore, and rowdy fans constantly testing the mental concentration of their favorite golfer. However, one fact that goes unnoticed is the large number of police presence.

Picture this: After sipping on a few drinks you may start to notice that you have a slight buzz, and as the Open is coming to a close you can’t help but to wonder if you had a little too much to drink. So you think “what is my BAC?” You think you might be okay, but you aren’t really sure. Hold on…there are BAC calculator apps on your smartphone! There are apps for practically everything today, so this should be easy. So you pull one up, like Show me my Buzz¹ or iDrink Smarter² and try to determine what your BAC level is.

Most of these applications will give you a BAC estimation based on the amount of drinks that you’ve had. Some also take your height, weight, and sex into consideration. The problem is that it’s hard to determine an accurate BAC when other factors are present. Many of these sites are incomplete or don’t take things into consideration, like: Food consumption, medication, health and psychological conditions.³ While it’s always a good thing to keep track of how much alcohol you are consuming throughout the night, keep in mind that the calculations for BAC levels are not that simple. It can take between a half-hour to two hours for your body to fully absorb and then eliminate the drink, depending on whether or not you’ve eaten.⁵ A study by Kurt Dubowski, PhD of the University of Oklahoma found that blood alcohol time curves can fluctuate, and “alcohol absorption isn’t always complete in 60-90 minutes, as is often claimed.”

Further, apps that calculate how many “drinks” you’ve had are only as accurate as your memory of them will be. It’s also difficult to approximate what “one drink” is because a different sized glass or a heavy-handed bartender can make one drink actually become 3 or 4. Typically, 1.5 oz of hard liquor constitutes one drink, and can be poured in 6 seconds.⁴ But not all bartenders measure this exactly the same way.

One way to monitor your consumption is to drink easily measured drinks over a set time, like a 12-oz light beer(considered a “standard drink” in the study of alcohol consumption and BAC calculation) every hour or so. One standard drink an hour is typically what the average male can process, on a general scale. This does differ from person to person, and even between men and women. Again, there are other incalculable factors can potentially change your BAC. Remember, depending on the above mentioned factors, even the smallest amount of alcohol can impair your senses and judgment. If you feel in the slightest bit uncomfortable to drive, then you would be better off using your iPhone app to call a cab. Apps are great for many things, but estimating your ability to drive a car is not one of them!

(1) http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/alcohol/new-smartphone-app-estimates-blood-alcohol-concentration

(2) http://appadvice.com/appguides/show/best-blood-alcohol-content-gauging-apps-for-the-iPhone

(3) http://www.modot.org/safety/ImpairedDriving.htm

(4) http://www.examiner.com/bartender-in-national/bartending-101-free-pouring-vs-the-jigger

(5) http://www.forcon.ca/learning/alcohol.html

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