Uber Rolls Out a Novel Approach to Drunk Driving Prevention

The people of Russia are known for their practical, no-nonsense approach to problem solving. Maybe that’s why popular ridesharing company Uber chose the Russian city of Yekaterinburg as their test market for a tool designed to target customers who might be too drunk to drive on their own.

Last month, Uber representatives began handing out business cards to patrons of the Alibi Bar in Yekaterinburg. Sure, the tried-and-true business card is typically anything but an innovative marketing tool, but these weren’t your average 3” X 2” pieces of card stock. These business cards doubled as blood alcohol testing strips.

Before getting behind the wheel, customers could simply peel the test strip off the back of their Uber card, lick it and wait a few moments for chemicals in the strip to react with their saliva. If the strip turns yellow, they’re safe to drive. If it turns green, well, then they’d better find their nearest Uber driver.

You might not be familiar with alcohol saliva testing, but in fact it’s a well-established method for accurately assessing a person’s blood alcohol concentration. Handing out breathalyzers to bar patrons might not be a cost-effective option for Uber, but the small, inexpensive saliva testing strips are ideal alternatives.

The campaign, which was conceived by Russian marketing firm Red Pepper Creative, seamlessly blends form and function to create a tool that not only attracts ridership for Uber, but also provides an additional valuable service to potential customers. If the business cards are well received in Russia, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Uber bring them to the States as well.