QR Codes Cause Confusion at Gas Stations

Created: 02/09/2013 7:23 AM KSTP.com By: Katherine Johnson

QR codes are barcodes you scan with your smart phone to access deals on different websites.  They're popping up everywhere - even at the pump. However there are also warnings posted at gas stations throughout the metro asking drivers to turn cell phones and electronic devices off while at the pump.

"How am I supposed to scan that if I want to get the 6% off?" asked one driver.

"Somebody had service station video of a person talking on their phone, getting out of their car and then they had a flash fire so they naturally jumped to the assumption that it was cell phones," said State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl.

Rosendahl says it's not the cell phone that starts the fire adding his office does not issue the warning signs posted at the pump.

Exxon says ad and warning placement at its Minnesota stations is up to individual gas station owners.  

"I don't necessarily worry about being on your cell phone but I'd rather have you concentrating on using the hazardous material of gasoline," said Rosendahl.  "That's nothing to fool with."

Rosendahl says it all comes down to a simple distraction.  When you're using your cell phone you're not paying as much attention to sparking static electricity at the pump.

"Just talking on the phone is not going to do it.  The science will not support that."

Rosendahl adds to avoid starting a fire at the pump, after you get out of your car, touch a metal surface.  That will get rid of that initial static electricity shock.  Then go for the nozzle.