Soon, it will be possible to measure one’s drug impairment by simply using a smartphone app. Not only would this make the process of identifying drunk drivers easier, but it would provide a tool for drinkers and drug users to ascertain their own level of impairment in hopes of dissuading them from getting behind the wheel of a car.
The technology behind the app is used currently to diagnose neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Its accuracy has made it popular within the United States Marine Corps as a training tool for Apache attack helicopter pilots.
How Does the Impairment App Work?
It works similarly to the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which police officers use during field sobriety tests to detect jerking movements in a suspected drunk or drugged driver’s eyes when they follow an object from side to side. These jerking motions are called saccades or micro-saccades. Researchers hope to identify the specific saccadic eye motions that correlate with different kinds of drugs to round out the app’s utility.
The app is being created in response to the increase in crashes involving marijuana use in recent years. A national survey of 9,000 nighttime drivers found a nearly 4 percent increase in drugged driving since 2007. That study suggests that drivers under the influence of marijuana increase their risk of crashing by 25 percent.
Once the app releases, measuring impairment will be as simple as taking a selfie. With such an accessible format, it is hoped that marijuana and other drug users make the right choice before deciding they are okay to drive. In the event that you do drive and get pulled over, Attorney Will Smith has some advice about whether you should consent to a field sobriety test in the video below:
DUI Matters – Denver DUI/DWI Lawyers
Did You Know?: The Standardized Field Sobriety Test battery consists of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, walk-and-turn test and the one-leg-stand test.