Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Smartphone app lets users know they are too high to drive

AaaA Massachusetts psychology professor has come up with an app he says can inform users when they are too impaired to drive.  Dr. Michael Milburn of UMass-Boston has come up with the DRUID ("Driving Under the Influence of Drugs") cellphone app which users, he says, can use to see if they can drive.  The Georgia Straight reports how the app works:

The five-minute test is accessible from a phone or tablet and requires users to complete four tasks to determine a level of impairment.

The app has three modes: “practice”, “baseline”, and “test”. Although the software mimics a simple, but tough, video game, users can’t technically fail the levels, but do need to set a baseline sober score, first. Users are encouraged to play around with the practice mode a few times before taking a stab at a sober score, which is calculated from the most recent ten scores achieved on baseline mode.

Once a sober score has been calculated, users can whip out their phone post-blaze and test their stoned results against their standard baseline.

Sound simple enough? Not quite. Druid measures every move, from the shake and wobble of the device during a balancing level to the user’s ability to follow complicated instructions—all of which are meant to emulate the demands of operating a motor vehicle.

Until the driver scores within approximately five percent of their sober baseline, the app urges users to find another mode of transportation.

Also note that this app will cost you a few dollars and its test scores do not establish a legal defense to driving impaired.

--Wyatt Hinson

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This seems like a risky move for the creator. When a user is (inevitably) arrested or involved in an accident after the app gave the user the "go ahead" to drive, the app developer is sure to receive a lawsuit. I'm sure the terms of use waive liability but defending suits through a motion to dismiss or summary judgment still costs time and money. It will be interesting to see if the app catches on and if the developer is ever found liable for any damages related to a flawed test result.

Posted by: Ash | Sep 9, 2018 8:28:08 AM

I think in reality this app will become more of a game to marijuana users as breathalyzers did in bars. Individuals can sit around and see who can get the best results while stoned.
Also, if the user is already high, how likely is it that they will remember to use their app or even listen to it when it says not to drive?
Plus, what person is going to spend a couple of their pot dollars on an app and not on weed or Doritos?

Posted by: Wyatt | Sep 10, 2018 6:27:47 AM

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