Arizona agency using app in hopes of preventing underage drinking

Jul 23, 2019, 4:34 AM
(Intellicheck Photo)...
(Intellicheck Photo)
(Intellicheck Photo)

PHOENIX — The state agency in charge of regulating alcohol sales in Arizona is trying to prevent underage drinking by using an app to detect fake IDs.

The app is called Intellicheck.

“The officer or the store owner scans the back of the driver’s license, the barcode,” said Bryan Lewis, CEO of the company that created the app, explaining how it works.

He said the app then checks the barcode to ensure it “matches with 100 percent certainty the format for that state on that date of issuance.”

Within seconds, the app lets users know if the ID is fake or not.

A total of 13 investigators with the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control have been using the app since April 2019.

Lewis said underage drinking is a big problem in Arizona.

A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 33% of Arizona high school students surveyed said they drink alcohol, compared with nearly 30% nationwide.

About 18% said they’ve had had four or more drinks of alcohol in a row, also known as binge drinking, and 6% said they drove after drinking alcohol.

Nationwide, 13.5% of high school students reported binge drinking and 5.5% said they had gotten behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

Lewis said these numbers show the importance his app plays in helping stop underage drinking.

“If we can stop one kid from dying in a wreck because he couldn’t get alcohol with that fake ID, it’s well worth it,” he said.

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Arizona agency using app in hopes of preventing underage drinking