There's a tap for that: TABC creating smartphone applications

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 1:15 AM

DALLAS - The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is developing two new mobile phone applicationss with grant money it has previously used to pay agents overtime for patrols during spring break.

The first app, called "Drinking and Decisions," is a game of sorts, and designed to show users what happens to them the more alcohol they consume - not to tell them how drunk they've become.

"It's not so much testing your motor skills, as it is raising awareness through a simulation," explained Carolyn Beck, spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. "It's a simulation of what it feels like when you get more and more drunk."

The TABC's second app in development is more serious.

It will allow anyone to file a complaint against a bar or establishment directly from their mobile phone.

But Vincent Gomez, a veteran server at The Angry Dog bar in Deep Ellum, said such an app sounds ripe for abuse.

"I think they're going to become overwhelmed with the amount of senseless calls, rather than what they should be focusing on," Gomez said.

The TABC mainly wants to hear about places that overserve drunk customers, or sell alcohol to underage ones.

"We're not that concerned that the app is going to result in more false complaints than we receive now," Beck said.

The state is spending more than $13,000 to develop and deploy the apps during spring break 2013.

Both apps will be free, Beck added, and designed only for iPhones and Androids - not Blackberrys.

The TABC modeled its "mobile complaint app" after one at the Texas Department of Agriculture, Beck continued. That program allows users to report problems with fuel pumps and view inspection history for different service stations.

"I want to know more about it," said Anna Duerr, Communications Director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "Any opportunity you have to raise awareness of drunk driving is good."

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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