Will talking urinals scare the -- well, you know -- out of drunks?
The latest method of deterring drunk drivers could be making its way to Lake of the Ozarks.
Talking urinal cakes may soon be found in several lakefront bars with a message that kicks in as patrons are relieving themselves and warns them to not drink and drive.
“You Drink and Drive. You Lose,” is the theme of Missouri's annual, end-of-summer campaign aimed at stopping impaired drivers.
This year, campaign organizers and partners have added a distinctive twist to their outreach efforts by utilizing talking urinal cakes to help target the most common offenders, males ages 21 to 34, according to Missouri Department of Transportation spokeswoman Linda Holloway.
The devices, distributed strategically in Missouri establishments where alcohol is served, will greet male patrons with the following message from a female voice:
“Hey big guy, going out tonight? Having a few drinks? Make sure if you're drinking, you find a sober driver. Because if you drink and drive, the next urinal you use could be in jail. Remember, your future is in your hand.”
The devices cost about $22. So far, most of the devices have been concentrated in Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield and Jefferson City, Mo.
But the devices may soon show up at the lake.
Holloway said Topsider in Osage Beach on the Grand Glaize Arm and Shady Gators on Horseshoe Bend at the 7-mile marker have expressed an interest in using the devices.
There are no plans for a similar type of program for women, she said.
Statistically, men are more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking too much, she said.
Nationally in 2005, nearly 13,000 people were killed in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with an illegal blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher – about one fatality every 41 minutes.
Last year in Missouri, 273 people died in more than 7,900 alcohol-related traffic crashes, which amounted to a death or injury every 1.6 hours.
Last year in Missouri, 78 percent of drunken drivers of motor vehicles were male.
According to MoDOT, everyone can play a part in preventing impaired driving. Please consider the following tips:
Don't risk it -- if you plan to drive, don't drink.
Encourage safe driving behaviors among family, friends and co-workers.
Choose a designated driver (who will consume no alcohol) before going out.
Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home after drinking.
Party hosts should include alcohol-free beverages.
If you've been drinking, spend the night where the activity is being held.
Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
Always wear your safety belt -- it is your best defense against an impaired driver.
The statewide “You Drink and Drive. You Lose” campaign began Aug. 15 with advertising about the dangers of impaired driving.
Increased enforcement by state and local law enforcement agencies will run between now and the upcoming Labor Day holiday.
For more information about the “You Drink and Drive. You Lose” campaign, visit www.savemolives.com.
Lake Sun Leader
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