Feds Ban Funny Electronic Messages on Highways

(ReliableNews.org) – Counties and states sometimes use humor to get people’s attention on the roadway. Road signs sometimes have messages like, “Visiting in-laws? Slow down, get there late,” or “Santa is watching you speed.” The federal government is now banning funny electronic signs.

The US Federal Highway Administration recently released the 11th Edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for Streets and Highways. The 1,100-page guide explains how traffic control devices, including signs, should be regulated. Officials are now prohibiting states from using funny signs that could distract drivers or obscure their meaning.

The department will require all signs to be “simple, direct, brief, legible and clear.” They should only be used to give important information about traffic delays, weather conditions, and crashes. Officials will also be permitted to tell drivers to wear their seatbelts and warn against driving impaired, speeding, or issue other important reminders.

Not everyone is happy about the new rules. State Rep. David Cook (R-AZ) told AZ Family that he doesn’t understand why the federal government is telling officials what they are allowed to do in their own state. He claimed it’s an example of how the “federal government is not focusing on what they need to be focusing on.”

It’s not clear how many accidents, if any, have been caused by people trying to read or take pictures of funny electronic road signs. There’s no arguing the country has a problem with distracted driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,522 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2021. That was approximately nine people every single day. Additionally, 644 people nonoccupants (bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.) were killed in accidents related to distracted driving. More than 362,000 others were injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers.

The federal government is giving states two years to comply with the new rules. They will go into effect in 2026.

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