Smartphones are increasingly used for more than conversation, texting and games. Useful apps can help users with such varied tasks as monitoring caloric intake, tracking sleeping patterns and checking traffic conditions. A new app can even help drivers in Wisconsin avoid drunk driving.

BreathalEyes, which launched late last year, measures the kind of involuntary eye movements which alert law enforcement to possible DUI infractions during field sobriety tests.

The app's inventor was inspired to create BreathalEyes when he was given the "follow this pen with your eyes" portion of a field sobriety test. He concluded that a smartphone could measure involuntary eye movements. Drivers could then use that technology to test themselves before getting behind the wheel.

Eyes jerk involuntarily at varied levels when one has consumed alcohol. BreathalEyes uses the camera inside the smartphone to measure these movements. The measurements then estimate the individual's blood alcohol content.

BreathalEyes only costs 99 cents. For the low cost of this app and apps like it, drivers can estimate their blood alcohol content. Armed with this knowledge, motorists too intoxicated to drive legally can find alternative transportation or wait to set out until they are sober. Similarly, individuals who discover that they are not intoxicated over the legal limit can drive with confidence.

DUI-prevention apps are not a perfect science. They have a range of error and should be used simply as an aid in determining whether one is sober enough to drive. However, they can be very useful tools. As one of the app's investors has said, "Any little bit of information you can put in front of somebody's face to help them make smarter decisions, especially people who have a tendency to abuse alcohol, can help."

Source: Insurance Journal, "Drunk Driver Test? There's an App for That," Jan. 4, 2012