A Smartphone App to Catch Drunk Drivers

By Valerie Tejeda 01/16/13

"DuiCam" users can record footage of suspects and send it directly to the cops.

Spotted a drunk driver? There's an app for
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A new iPhone and Android app called the DuiCam can help concerned citizens catch drunk drivers in action. The free smartphone app, which has already been downloaded 1,000 times, was created by Frank Vahid, a computer science professor in the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. In the past, Vahid says he's observed and reported many drunk driving accidents himself, but his reports were often futile when he couldn't catch the license plate number. "These things happen so quickly and license plates are quite small, so it's very hard to get it at the time," he says. "That's why I was thinking it would be helpful to have a device that's always recording what's in front of the car." By mounting their phones on the dashboard, app users can record footage of suspect vehicles. Then, after safely pulling over, they can replay the video footage and zoom in on the license plate and other identifying marks, which they can then pass on to the police. Vahid says drunk driving is one of the "biggest and most outrageous" problems facing the country. "Over 10,000 deaths a year in the US [are] caused by drunk driving and several hundred thousands of injuries. If you think about it, that's three Sept. 11s every year," he says, "and it's a pretty absurd situation because it's preventable." More information is available at DuiCam.org.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.