Buzz Buddy for iPhone knows when it's safe to drive home

By calculating your weight and what you've drunk, an inexpensive iPhone app predicts when it's safe to drive home.

Buzz Buddy on iPhone

As the holiday season approaches, get-togethers have a tendency to grow...merry. After slurping up a couple spirited mugs full of glogg or 'nog, will you know when you're fit to drive home?

You might if you've tracked your drink intake with Buzz Buddy for iPhone and iPod Touch ($0.99). It can't guarantee you'd pass a breathalyzer test, but this blood alcohol calculator gets close.

After entering your gender, weight, and whether you've already consumed alcohol, you'll tap the drink type you're about to imbibe--standard measures of beer, wine, cocktail, and shots. That means if you're sipping a strong Belgian ale or Long Island iced tea, you had better 'fess up.

Using your weight and gender, Buzz Buddy will graph your calculated blood alcohol level over the hours, helping you predict when your levels will get back into the safety range. If you spill over from sassy to sloppy, the colored indicator will supposedly shift from green to yellow to red and you'll be warned that your blood alcohol level is far too high to drive. A small bug in version 1.0 kept the indicator green even as we "chugged" enough booze to fell a mule.

We have some other ideas for expanding Buzz Buddy's possibilities. What about calling an emergency contact from within the app? Or viewing an in-app map detailing late-night munching spots nearby? Entering submissions to the graph retroactively, to account for the drinks you may have forgotten to add as you got swept into your evening, however, is a more urgent request.

With a button you can tap to call a cab and arguably helpful tips to instill a sensibility for responsible drinking, Buzz Buddy is a good idea--as long as you have the the presence of mind to use it.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.