There is a smartphone app that can help people suspected of driving drunk. It was created by an Iowa law firm — but some law enforcement officials are skeptical of the app’s intent.
If you see red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, perhaps the aptly named “Oh crap app” can help.
The app was designed to tell people what they can and cannot do when being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that they know their rights,” Attorney Bob Rehkemper said. Rehkemper is one of the creators of the app.
He says it lists basic legal rights, has a blood alcohol calculator and an emergency “Oh crap” button for when a person is being stopped.
Hit it and get advice like “the less you say the better,” “be polite,” and “lawyer up.”
There’s more. When you hit the “Oh Crap” button, it’ll turn on your phone’s voice recorder and that will record any conversation you have with an officer and send the audio file to a secure server.
The audio is potentially valuable evidence if someone wants to fight a charge.
“That initial interaction is documented and is recorded so it’s not a matter of what somebody remembers, or he said, she said,” Rehkemper said.
The Linn County Sheriff has concerns about the app.
“It’s cute, if nothing else,” Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said.
Gardner says during traffic stops, using the program could put approaching officers on edge — seeing as they might mistake a phone for a weapon.
Sheriff Gardner also worried the app could be used for the wrong reasons.
“If it stops you from being intoxicated and driving, I’m certainly in favor of it. If it tells you how to be intoxicated and drive, and get away with it, there may be some concern there,” Sheriff Gardner said.
Creators estimate the app has been downloaded 4,000 times in the year it has been out.
They say they don’t want users drinking and driving, but hope they’ll use the app to stay informed in difficult situations.
“People end up in positions and their rights become very important to them, to their family members, to their children. That’s the purpose of this app, to understand what they do, and what they don’t have to do,” Rehkemper said.