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Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car Accidents > Federal Regulators Cracking Down on Use of Jokes on Electronic Highway Signs

Federal Regulators Cracking Down on Use of Jokes on Electronic Highway Signs


Federal officials recently announced that they will begin phasing out the use of humor on electronic highways signage in the next two years. Although some state representatives have come forward arguing that such message boards are tools that help highlight the importance of safe driving, other safety experts argue that signage that is humorous, witty, or references pop culture doesn’t actually reduce crashes. In fact, many argue that the federal recommendation against such message boards doesn’t go far enough and that such signage should be banned immediately.

Changeable Highway Message Signs 

In the last few years, many states have begun using traffic messaging as a safety measure by utilizing changeable message signs (CMS) that are installed alongside or above highways. For a while, these messages were straightforward, warning motorists of traffic, closed exits, or road construction. Recently, however, more and more states have begun using humorous or witty sayings on their displays. A few examples include: “Hocus pocus, drive with focus” on Halloween and “Visiting in-laws, Slow down, get there late” at Thanksgiving. Still others reference pop culture, current events, or otherwise try to be humorous. Federal regulators argue that far from being funny, these kinds of signs are a waste of resources, not effective, and actually distracting to most drivers.

New Federal Guidelines 

Under the Federal Highway Administration’s new guidelines, states will be barred from displaying messages that are intended to be humorous or that contain pop culture references. Instead, states are directed to use signs that are simple, direct, and brief and to only utilize such messages for specific information, including warnings of:

  • Collisions;
  • Weather conditions; and
  • Traffic delays.

Warnings about speed and driving impaired will also be permitted. These changes are to go into effect immediately and will result in the phasing out of all humorous electronic highway signs by 2026.

Other Safety Measures Would be More Effective 

Federal safety experts argue that safety slogans aren’t that effective in changing driver behavior and that states would be better off implementing other measures, like:

  • Installing automatic traffic cameras to reduce collisions;
  • Manufacturing vehicles with safety technology, such as Intelligent Speed Assist;
  • Narrowing urban traffic lanes to slow vehicle speeds; and
  • Lowering municipal speed limits.

Federal regulators argue that by reducing the number of humorous electronic highway signs, more state resources can be used to promote more effective (and less distracting) safety measures across the U.S.

Call Today for Help with Your Case 

Safety measures implemented by state and federal agencies can only go so far in protecting drivers from being involved in car accidents. In fact, according to the Federal Highway Administration, such signs can actually be more dangerous than they are helpful. If you were injured in a crash in Georgia, you should know that you have legal rights to compensation. For a free assessment of your own case, please call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 and set up a meeting with one of our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys today. You can also reach a member of our legal team via online message.




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