Nation & World

Michigan deploys talking urinal cakes in DUI fight

DETROIT — Michigan hopes to keep drunks off the road with the help from a special message in men's bathrooms featuring an attention-getting woman's voice.

Talking urinal-deodorizer cakes have been distributed to Michigan Licensed Beverage Association members in Wayne County, including Detroit, state officials announced. A recorded message will play reminding men who step up to the urinals to call a cab or a friend, if needed, to get home safely.

"Not only do we want to turn some heads and get people talking, we hope everyone takes the message to heart," Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said in a statement.

Bay, Ottawa and Delta counties also are getting them. The motion-activated messages are part of a statewide Fourth of July education and enforcement effort. The federally funded drunken driving crackdown runs through Sunday. It also includes stepped up patrols in 26 counties involving a number of agencies.

"At first it may be seen as humorous, but the seriousness of the message will stand out and encourage patrons to find a safe ride home," said Michigan Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director Scott T. Ellis.

Talking urinal cakes have been used in other states for similar efforts.

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