Monday, February 12, 2007

Talking potty cakes? What will New Mexico come up with next?

I see that New Mexico has come up with the novel idea of a talking urinal cake that deliver a simple message to those weary and wasted: "You drink, you drive, you lose." Will this message sound more like "Drink, drive, booze" as you are going?

The article is unclear whether this message comes on only when it detects alcohol or simply when it is used. I'm not a doctor so I don't know whether this type of detection is even possible or cost-effective (these things cost $21/cake so maybe it is). Because they are going for it, I wonder if the voice is a woman's sexy voice or if this whole thing acts like an Elmo's Potty Time toy. This could be a funny Superbowl commercial for next year.

I can appreciate the public policy driving this idea and maybe it will be more effective than annoying, which would be good. I also wonder whether New Mexico has some sort of dram shop act, and if not, does the agreement to put in these talking potty cakes unintentionally expose the bar to third-party liability? Or, if it does have a dram shop act, does this potty cake absolve them? In either case, the bar serves the alcohol and now they are actively trying to prevent drunk driving by having the urinal warn them instead of the bartender or bouncer. I don't see how that would hold up. If New Mexico is going to go this far, why not just require all cars to have breathalizers installed? Wouldn't this prevent more drunk driving than a talking toilet?

Taken even one step beyond this, doesn't this act ignore the fact that women (presumably) drive cars in New Mexico? I doubt this really raises any equal protection issues, but regardless, I can see more benefits in spending the money on something else.

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