State officials have turned to odd devices to dissuade drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel before, but a recent Colorado initiative that introduced talking urinals may take the cake.
According to a report from CBS News, Colorado officials have introduced interactive urinal communicators (IUCs) to select bars in the mountainous state.
The devices, which are also called talking urinal cakes, are aimed at educating potential drunk driving by reminding them to be wary of their blood alcohol levels, according to sources.
The talking urinal cakes, which were produced by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), were placed in about 15 bars across the state, including popular watering holes like Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery in Boulder and Vine Street Pub & Brewer in Denver.
The cakes, which speak through the voice of a male narrator, first tell bathroom patrons to “keep a constant stream on this urinal cake and let’s see how drunk you are.”
After the devices measure the relative intoxication of the patrons and then make cheeky references about their levels of drunkenness, accompanied by comic sound effects. Finally, the urinal cakes tell customers to “make sure you keep winning and get home safe.”
Of course, the talking urinal cakes are a funny response to a serious problem. Sources say Labor Day weekend led to more than 1,300 drunk driving arrests over Labor Day weekend in Colorado in 2012, although this number dipped a bit in 2013, perhaps thanks to initiatives like the IUCs.
According to CDOT spokesperson Emily Wilfong, “our goal with the IUCs is having one last possibility of getting some messaging to someone considering whether or not to drive,” especially men between the ages of 21 and 34, the group of people most likely to die in a DUI crash.
And she believes that CDOT is making a difference in the fight against drunk driving. “We are pleased to see the numbers have decreased, and we do feel enforcement paired with a new education campaign contributed to it,” said Wilfong.
Naturally, not everything is perfect with the talking urinal cakes. Sources say theft has been a problem, as the devices are apparently a collector’s item among Colorado thieves.
In addition, some urinal users have complained to CDOT that the talking urinal cakes are offensive, although others have also expressed gratitude, while some are simply amused by the novel educational tools, according to local reports.