When the Guilford County Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Task Force sponsors a booth at local health fairs, it usually draws a big crowd. Passers-by are eager to try the new intoxiclock® Pro software to learn how their weight, gender and the number of drinks they consume affect their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Many of them leave the booth surprised, chastened and with a renewed understanding of how alcohol affects their bodies.
The North Carolina task force was one of a handful of customers to test Innocorp’s new technology, which is an updated version of the original intoxiclock®. Amanda Wellendorf, DWI Task Force educator, has been using the older version for more than two years and was happy to provide feedback as Innocorp was developing the new software. “The intoxiclock® is one of the biggest eye openers I’ve seen,” says Amanda. “People don’t understand the amount of time it takes alcohol to leave their system.”
“The intoxiclock® is one of the biggest eye openers I’ve seen,” says Amanda. “People don’t understand the amount of time it takes alcohol to leave their system.”
In addition to health fairs, Amanda visits schools, restaurants, bars and other businesses to talk about the effects of alcohol. She uses several tools, including a drunk driving simulator, Fatal Vision® Alcohol Impairment Goggles, and the intoxiclock® Pro. Typically, she asks participants to tell her what they did last weekend — where they were, what they were drinking, how many drinks they had, how much time passed, and if they were behind the wheel of a car. She enters these numbers — along with the participant’s weight and gender — into the software, and is able to tell them what their BAC was at any given point in the night. Then, they can use the Fatal Vision® Goggles that most closely match their BAC at the time they were driving to perform basic sobriety tests and activities.
“I tell them right away that I’m not writing tickets,” says Amanda. “This is simply for their information. That helps relax some people who are initially hesitant to reveal what they drank.”
Innocorp sent Amanda a prototype version of the new software while it was still in development to test and evaluate. She gave her feedback during telephone conferences. Overall, she appreciated that the new version was so easy to use. She also valued the intuitive operation of intoxiclock® Pro provided by the system’s graphics: When she is entering the number of drinks the participant consumed, she first selects the drink from pictures of popular beverages drawn from Innocorp’s Shots Poster. The system then displays standard drink units for the selected drink to track the amount of alcohol consumed and show how much alcohol is contained in each drink.
Amanda particularly likes the feature that allows participants to compare their alcohol consumption side-by-side. After entering information for one person, she can duplicate that same information for the companion while still changing some data, such as weight and gender. “It gives them a chance to see how their BAC would be different due to their body type and how fast they were drinking,” she says.
When Amanda is finished entering all the vital information, participants can view a “countdown to zero,” which tells them exactly when their BAC will return to 0. It is an especially enlightening feature, Amanda says, because they are usually surprised at how long it takes for the alcohol to leave their system.
During the process, Amanda offered a number of suggestions which Innocorp incorporated into its design:
- Weight display – Some women did not want to participate, Amanda says, because they did not want their weight displayed on a big screen for all to see. So, the intoxiclock® now offers a “Hide weight” button that allows participants to receive accurate numbers while keeping their personal details private.
- BAC display – Amanda suggested that the calculated blood alcohol concentration should be bigger and more prominent to make an impact. “The more people can actually see their blood alcohol level, the better it will be,” she says. The BAC turns red when participants are above the legal limit for driving.
Educational and Fun
People at community health fairs often tell Amanda her booth is the best one there. She believes that’s because the activities she offers are not only engaging, but also enlightening. One woman who sees her often has said that she thinks about Amanda and the intoxiclock® every time she drinks, and she consumes less alcohol and drinks more responsibly because of what she learned.
When she along with the Fatal Vision® Goggles, Amanda feels she can dispel many common myths about alcohol and drunk driving. “They have a lot of fun, and at the same time they learn valuable information that could keep them out of jail or maybe even save their lives,” she says.