Ottawa County is one of the first placs in Michigan to use the talking urinal cakes. Photo courtesy: David Puck
HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A statewide campaign is hoping to flush away drunk drivers one men's bathroom at a time.
The Office of Highway Safety Planning demonstrated its talking urinal cakes, which reminds people not to drink and drive this Fourth of July weekend.
The automated message uses a women's voice to catch people's attention in the men's bathroom.
"Hey, listen up -- that's right, I'm talking to you," it says.
"We put a very serious message in a unique place, with a little humor," says Anne Readett with the Office of Highway Safety Planning.
The recording is automatically set off by a motion sensor when someone walks up to the urinal.
"Have you had a few drinks, maybe a few too many?" the message says. "Do yourself and everyone else a favor and call a cab."
Officials say it's already helped spread the word against drunk driving in several other states. In Michigan, four counties and 200 businesses -- including Goog's Pub and Grub in Holland -- have joined the effort.
"If it's posted on a wall, no one is going to pay attention to it. This definitely grabs their attention," says Brad White, owner of Goog's Pub and Grub.
"To raise people's eyebrows, those are the things you remember," says Chief Matt Messer, with the Holland Police Department. "If that's what it does, then I think it's a valuable tool."
"We know that targeting that male driver means in the bathroom during his alone time," says Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.
Officials say women were not targeted because of the statistics on drunk driving.
"It's a very male dominated issue. That's not to say women aren't arrested for drunk driving, but men are arrested at about three-to-one for women," says Readett.
Officials hope the woman's voice will make the holiday safer and maybe even healthier. The message comes with other reminder.
"Oh, and by the way, don't forget to wash your hands," it says.
The Office of Highway Safety Planning says it's possible the program could expand to women as well eventually, but for now funding is limited.
Officials say they tried to select counties near the water with the largest fireworks celebrations.