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App helps catch drunk drivers
Date:1/15/2013

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) Nearly 30 Americans a day die in vehicle crashes that involve drunk drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is so appalling to Frank Vahid, a computer science professor in the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, that he plans to spend much of the rest of his academic career helping to eradicate the problem.

His first offering? A new, free Android and IPhone app called DuiCam that lets drivers use their cell phones to easily record erratic drivers. It has already been downloaded more than 1,000 times.

To use the app, all a driver needs is a dashboard or windshield mount. The app lets the phone constantly record what's happening in front of the car, while deleting footage after 30 minutes so the phone's storage isn't overwhelmed.

If app users see what looks like a drunk driver, they canafter safely pulling overeasily replay the video and zoom in to look at the license plate and other identifying marks on the offending car, to pass on to the police. The app even makes it possible to email a snapshot or the entire video to help investigators get the driver off the road.

"I have observed many drunk drivers and seen a hit and run involving a drunk driver, and in every case we have the same situation.we see it happen, call 911 to report it and the first question the police have is, 'What's the license plate?'' Vahid said. "These things happen so quickly and license plates are quite small, so it's very hard to get it at the time. 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."

Vahid began thinking about this idea about five years ago.

"I asked myself, 'What are the biggest problems facing this country?' To me, drunk driving is one of the biggest and most outrageous; over 10,000 deaths a ye
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Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

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