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Maryland launches app to help users avoid drunken driving

Drink too much to drive? Maryland has an app for that.

A new app developed by the state of Maryland to help users avoid drunken driving is now available for free download in online Google and Apple stores.

The app, called ENDUI, lets users enter their gender and weight, the types of alcoholic drinks they've consumed and the timeframe in which they have consumed them, and estimates blood-alcohol content.

It also lets users play games that evaluate their response times, lets them call designated friends or cab companies for rides, and report other drivers they suspect are driving under the influence of alcohol.

Organizers with Maryland Remembers, an annual memorial for victims of drunken drivers in the state, are expected to announce the launch of the app alongside Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Marcus Brown at a service in Annapolis on Thursday afternoon.

Jan Withers, an Upper Marlboro resident and the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is also expected to attend — perhaps as one of her last acts at the organization's helm. Withers, whose 15-year-old daughter was killed by a drunken driver more than two decades ago, began a three-year term as the group's national president in 2011.

"Support is incredibly important, but what also heartens me through those dark days is the knowledge that my work with MADD is helping create a world where drunk driving will no longer be possible," Withers wrote in a farewell post on the organization's website earlier this month. "Thanks to MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, we are inches away from making that a reality."

According to the Maryland Remembers group, 152 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Maryland last year, accounting for a third of all traffic fatalities in the state.

The holiday season is one of the most dangerous periods of the year in terms of alcohol-related crashes, it said.

The app, developed by the Maryland Highway Safety Office, cost $50,215 to develop and market, said Erin Henson, a Maryland Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

The cost was covered by federal funding specifically designated for impaired driving prevention efforts, Henson said.

The app, which the state says is pronounced "End DUI," is currently available at Google Play for Android phones and at the iTunes store for iPhones.

krector@baltsun.com

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