Drive sober app has more than 44,000 downloads in first year

UPDATED Monday, March 17, 2014 --- 5:59 p.m.

If you're out drinking for St. Patrick's day and don't know if you should drive home, your phone could help.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation drive sober app has been out for a year, and it's been downloaded 44,000 times. The state even won a regional award for the innovative and creative way it informs the public.

The app allows you to estimate your blood alcohol based on the number of drinks you've had and your weight, it even uses GPS to track down a safe ride home for you if you decide it's best not to get behind the wheel.

Randy Romanski with the WDOT says it's an important topic to address.

"The fact of the matter is, 35-40% of all fatalities in WI are alcohol impaired and that's a really sad fact and that's something that the WDOT and our partners are trying to address and change."

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UPDATED Friday, March 15, 2013--5:35p.m.
"There are somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 drunk driving convictions each year in Wisconsin," said State Patrol Maj. Sandra Huxtable. "That's the population of some of our middle-sized cities."

The state has a reputation for heavy drinking--as does the St. Patty's day holiday. And law enforcers say they'll be out in extra numbers to provide extra OWI enforcement this weekend.

They're asking you to be smart in your celebrations--and not get behind the wheel if you're buzzed or drunk.

They've even created a new smart phone app to help you find alternative ways home.The app includes features like a blood alcohol estimator and a game to choose a designated driver. It even helps you find alternative rides--like buses or taxis. "It does also provide information about safe rides home and by using the GPS function on your phone, locating where you're at it can tell you what safe driving opportunities are available in your area," said Maj. Huxtable. The app also includes an impairment goggles feature, that lets you experience how you'll see after a certain number of drinks.

And we're told the app is easy enough to use, that even if you're a few drinks in, you should be able to navigate it to find an alternative ride home. "We're hoping that somebody that's drunk, they'll absolutely be able to figure out how to use it," said Maj. Huxtable. "But the big thing for me is that they get the message that they better not get behind the wheel of a car and....try to drive because that would be a very stupid decision."

We're told the app first became available on March 7 and since then, more than 8,000 people have downloaded it.

It is free to download. You can find it by going to zeroinwisconsin.gov.
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Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 --- 11:20 a.m.

Press Release from the WisDOT:

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a weekend this year, even those people without Irish ancestry will be celebrating the March 17th holiday at bars and parties. Unfortunately, they may be tempted to drive while impaired by alcohol.

To help motorists prevent a drunken driving arrest—or even worse, a crash—the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is launching a new “Drive Sober” app for smart phones. As part of the Zero In Wisconsin traffic safety campaign, the Drive Sober app includes:

· A blood alcohol estimator

· A designated driver selector

· A function to find a safe ride home that uses the phone’s GPS to provide contacts for nearby taxi, mass transit and designated-driver services

· Impairment goggles that realistically (delete the word realistically) show the physical effects of increased alcohol levels

· Video clips of Wisconsin’s top skateboarders, BMX bikers, snowboarders and snowmobilers performing amazing stunts as seen in the Zero In Wisconsin TV messages

A free download of the app is available online by visiting http://www.zeroinwisconsin.gov.

“Last year during the St. Patrick’s holiday weekend, March 16 to 18, four people died in Wisconsin traffic crashes. This year, if drivers always designate before they celebrate and never get behind the wheel while impaired, we could attain zero traffic deaths,” says State Patrol Maj. Sandra Huxtable, director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety. “By downloading the new Drive Sober app, motorists can help prevent drunken driving crashes that devastate individuals, families and entire communities.”


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