ARIZONA NEWS

Federal Highway Administration bans funny, creative messages on signs

Jan 15, 2024, 9:46 AM

Signs like the one above will no longer be allowed due to a ban implemented by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. (Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)

PHOENIX — It’s no joke. Humorous and quirky messages on electronic signs will soon disappear from highways and freeways across the country.

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has given states two years to implement all the changes outlined in its new 1,100-page manual released last month, including rules that spells out how signs and other traffic control devices are regulated.

Administration officials said overhead electronic signs with obscure meanings, references to pop culture or those intended to be funny will be banned in 2026 because they can be misunderstood or distracting to drivers.

The agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said signs should be “simple, direct, brief, legible and clear” and only be used for important information such as warning drivers of crashes ahead, adverse weather conditions and traffic delays. Seatbelt reminders and warnings about the dangers of speeding or driving impaired are also allowed.

Among those that will be disappearing are messages such as “Use Yah Blinkah” in Massachusetts; “Visiting in-laws? Slow down, get there late,” from Ohio; “Don’t drive Star Spangled Hammered,” from Pennsylvania; “Hocus pocus, drive with focus” from New Jersey; and “Hands on the wheel, not your meal” from Arizona.

Arizona has more than 300 electronic signs above its highways. For the last seven years, the state Department of Transportation has held a contest to find the funniest and most creative messages.

Anyone could submit ideas, drawing more than 3,700 entries last year. The winners were “Seatbelts always pass a vibe check” and “I’m just a sign asking drivers to use turn signals.”

“The humor part of it, we kind of like,” said state Rep. David Cook, a Republican from Globe, told Phoenix TV station CBS 5. “I think in Arizona the majority of us do, if not all of us.”

He said he didn’t understand the fuss.

“Why are you trying to have the federal government come in and tell us what we can do in our own state? Prime example that the federal government is not focusing on what they need to be.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

1 hour ago

FILE - A group of migrants walk along the border in a remote part of the Arizona desert as they joi...

Associated Press

Bill in Arizona would punish migrants who enter country illegally

Republicans in Arizona are broadcasting a tough border stance with legislation aimed at punishing migrants who enter the United States illegally.

2 hours ago

Mugshot of Brandie Gotch, who faces multiple charges for an alleged rampage against children at a P...

Kevin Stone

West Valley mom accused of driving through park, injuring a child, while her kids were in truck

A woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly driving her pickup truck through a West Valley park and hitting a child after she thought her kids were being bullied.

5 hours ago

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the stat...

KTAR.com

Former Arizona education employees accused of stealing money from ESA program

Three former Arizona Department of Education employees are accused of obtaining funds from the state's school voucher program for personal use, authorities announced Thursday.

6 hours ago

An Arizona man was indicted after allegedly attempting to smuggle firearms into Mexico on Jan. 23, ...

KTAR.com

Arizona man indicted after allegedly attempting to smuggle firearms into Mexico

An Arizona man was indicted after allegedly attempting to smuggle firearms into Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.

6 hours ago

The view of a Phoenix police cruiser with yellow crime scene tape over the rear panel...

KTAR.com

Suspect claims self-defense after deadly shooting at Phoenix motel

A suspect claimed self-defense after an altercation escalated into a deadly shooting at a Phoenix motel on Wednesday evening.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Federal Highway Administration bans funny, creative messages on signs