Michigan Bars Using Coasters With QR Codes To Help Drunk People FInd A Ride Home

There will be lots of green beer going down (and unfortunately coming back up) the throats of drinkers around the country this weekend. But a new initiative in Michigan is hoping to keep drunk bar-goers from getting behind the wheel by giving them a way to find the number for a nearby taxi service.

The state’s Office of Highway Safety Planning has placed coaster more than 500 bars and restaurants around Michigan that are printed with a QR code that, when scanned by a smartphone, will provide a list of numbers for cabs in the area.

Michigan officials are hoping this approach will appeal to the younger crowd of revelers who are supposed to be tech-savvy, especially since men in the 21-34 age group represents a significant chunk of those involved in drunk driving accidents or arrested for driving under the influence.

“The goal, always, is to encourage motorists to be safe and responsible when behind the wheel,” said Michael L. Prince, director of OHSP. “The coasters are meant to reinforce this important message.”

This all sounds like a nice idea — Give drinkers an easy, one-click way to find a list of local cabs. But we wonder if the folks that came up with this idea saw this study that showed how most college students have no idea how to scan or what to do with a QR code.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Driblis says:

    This would go great with my ten year old phone and my complete lack of knowledge about QR codes.

    And I’m only 30.

    • nicless says:

      You’ll be too busy telling kids to get off your lawn for this to matter much anyway…

    • Bob from Texas says:

      I know. Also what’s with the wide age range? I’m 32, and I admit, I am flattered at being included in the same group as 21-year-olds, and I am tech savvy, but with a wife, two kids, and taxes to pay (finished the mortgage, yay self-pat), I haven’t stepped into a bar to get drunk, in, well, about 9 years.

  2. Kuri says:

    that actually seems like a pretty good idea.

    • bluline says:

      If you’re so drunk that you need this you’re probably too drunk to hold your phone steady enough to scan the code.

  3. kaptainkk says:

    Plus it takes more time to scan a QR code accurately than it does to look up “taxi” on Google IMO! And that’s while being sober.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    I would think it’s a Rorschach test and spend the rest of the
    night drinking even more while trying to figure out its true meaning.

  5. MrObvious says:

    Why not put a phone number on the coasters instead?

  6. chefboyardee says:

    isn’t yellow cab 222-2222? i don’t think “knowing how to find a taxi” is the problem. i think “many drunks are idiots who think they can/should drive” is the problem.

    • waterboy in Alaska says:

      That’s the number for it here in Anchorage, Ak….Thought it was just here. The tow truck is actually an option I have used before. Almost as cheap as a taxi and far more convienant.

      • Yomiko says:

        There’s a tow place in town where I live that offers free towing up to 5 miles on New Year’s Eve. Even if you leave your car overnight someplace you shouldn’t, the ticket is only $15. One of the benefts of living someplace smallish.

  7. GJaunts says:

    Wait, so is Michigan allowing the use of coasters with QR codes, or is that practice barred?

    Confusing headline is confusing.

  8. Mr Grey says:

    Why not just have phone numbers on the coasters?

  9. Billl says:

    The headline is misleading…I thought it said “Michigan prohibits (bars) Using Coasters With QR Codes To Help Drunk People FInd A Ride Home”, which seems really dumb, but never beyond possibility.

    Consumerist seems to do this quite a bit..or maybe I’m just funny that way…..

    • Xenotype51 says:

      I read it that way as well. I guess we’re used to seeing articles about things getting banned.

  10. comedian says:

    Confusing headline is confusing.

    Why would the Michigan government “bar” such a good idea?

  11. elangomatt says:

    Can someone who is too drunk to drive even hold a cell phone steady enough for enough time to scan a QR code? Maybe my phone’s camera is bad, but I sometimes have trouble scanning QR codes when I’m sober!

    • magnetic says:

      You don’t have to be that drunk for it not to be a good idea to drive home. It’s not a good idea to get as drunk as you’re describing at all, really. And I like a drink or six, myself.

  12. Kaleey says:

    My smart phone (that I thankfully do not use anymore) was pretty finicky about holding the phone just right to capture the code. I don’t know how well drunk guys can scan barcodes, but hey, good thought! It does take care of the “too drunk to dial a cab” problem.

  13. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I originally read this wrong, thinking it meant Michigan was barring businesses from using coasters with QSR codes and thought “Why?? That’s a great idea!” – glad it was just a mis-read. I think more bars need to jump on this bandwagon :)

  14. alexhohio says:

    You are aware that using a QR code is analogous to blindly clicking an unknown link on the web, right? Sounds like a great way for hackers to steal the data of drunkards. Replace the coasters with a QR code that links to a site serving malware…

  15. CubeRat says:

    Yes, because when I am drunk, I can clearly decide that I need a cab, find the ap on my phone, scan the code, find a number, then call it………

    Easier to call 411

    • Lucky225 says:

      As an avid phone user, it’s pretty simple to open goggles, point that phone at a QR code, which will either open a link with the phone number or actually DIAL the number for you, if it’s a link with the ph # you just click on the number to call it. Android ftw :X

      • CubeRat says:

        I have an android phone, because I don’t want anything to do with apple. However, I don’t like Google.

        I have a cab company already added to my phone list.

        I wonder if there is a ‘call local cab’ ap out there? If not, it’d be a good idea; I’d use it when I travel and need a taxi. Maybe have a ‘dispatch cab’ option, as the smartphones have you on GPS.

      • nicless says:

        Or just hit the search button on your Windows Phone and *bing* you can scan the code from there without letting your Google Overlord know you need a cab. It’s only giving that info to your MS overlords who are surprisingly less evil. Windows Phone ftw.

  16. Lucky225 says:

    I totally read this headline wrong as ‘Michigan bars using coasters’ as in the State barred or banned the use, until I realized bars has another meaning (facepalm)

  17. fruvous says:

    I hope the real code doesn’t take them to the best of Community.

  18. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “this study that showed how most college students have no idea how to scan or what to do with a QR code.”

    QFT. I know what the silly things are, and in theory how to use them…but I never have. I think the vast majority of the population in general probably doesn’t really even know what they are. Let alone what to do with them. Frankly I wish they’d go away…

  19. Cat says:

    Enough with the QR codes already. It sucks to need some bit of information – say, the phone number of a taxi service – and only find a QR code. Some people don’t have a device to read them, and never will. I’ll probably be one of them forever.

    I went car shopping and wound up at a car dealership that only had the year, make and model and a “scan for details” QR code. I never went back.

    Is it really that difficult to PRINT THE FUCKING “DETAILS” ON THE FUCKING PAPER?

  20. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:
  21. lostalaska says:

    It sounds like a pretty good idea, but most people have no idea how to use QR codes so besides the geeky/techie crowd it seems like most people wouldn’t use them. Plus how steady will my hand be when I’m trying to capture the QR code with my phone at the end of the night to drunk dial a taxi…. I’ve just planned ahead and added all the necessary numbers to my contacts list in my phone. All the local Taxi’s, Bars, late night eateries are all in there already, Now hopefully Siri understand my slurred “Siri, Call me a taxi!”

    For some reason I read the title as “Michigan bars (i.e. bans) using Coasters with QR codes to help Drunk People Find a Ride Home”

  22. guroth says:

    This is fantastic, given all the marketing research that shows a very small percentage of people who meet the following criteria:
    1. Know what a QR code is.
    2. Know how to use a QR code.
    3. Have a smart phone.
    4. Have an app to scan the QR code.

    I have seen multiple studies that show that even most properly equipped and knowledgeable people simply don’t scan QR codes. (In USA at least).

  23. hiland says:

    Trust Me. Nobody is using QR codes to do ANYTHING.

  24. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Jeez. I got a whole drawer full of Cue Cats from Radio Shack. I wonder…

  25. Bryan Price says:

    Considering the two very different uses of bars, one a verb, the other a noun, I read the headline as a verb.

  26. Sarahlara says:

    But in December you told us even college kids didn’t know what to do with QR codes. What about drunk college kids?


  27. evilpete says:

    .. and leave their cars to be ticketed & towed

  28. framitz says:

    Freaking confusing headline. I’m over 60 and know what a QR code is…

  29. Smultronstallet says:

    I’m 22, and I have never owned a smart phone. It would be a heck of a lot easier if they simply had cab numbers on the coasters. Even if I had a smart phone, I would never bother scanning QR codes, because it will likely lead to some sort of advertisement.

  30. bwcbwc says:

    Ow. At first I thought “bars” was a verb in the headline. So this is actually GOOD news for drunks.

  31. Firevine says:

    I’m sure QR codes have practical applications for the freight industry, warehousing, etc. For the general populace though, they’re tits on a bull.

  32. zep says:

    Why would Michigan bar the use of QR codes to give drunk people safe rides?


  33. tape says: