Feds Announce Ban On Humorous Electronic Messages On Highways

No joke, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration has implemented a ban on signs similar to the ones that the Arizona Department of Transportation post throughout the state. As a result the use of comical and eccentric messages on digital signs will soon come to an end on national highways and freeways.

Within a span of two years, the states are expected to adopt all the modifications outlined in the recently released 1,100-page manual by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, which includes regulations on the management of signs and other traffic control devices.

According to administration officials, by the year 2026, overhead electronic signs that contain unclear messages, allusions to popular culture, or attempts at humor will be prohibited. This is due to the potential for these signs to be misinterpreted or cause distractions for drivers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency recommends using signs that are straightforward, concise, easy to read, and focused on essential information. Such signs should only be utilized to alert drivers to critical situations, such as accidents, inclement weather, and traffic delays. Additionally, it is acceptable to use signs to remind drivers to wear seatbelts and to caution against the hazards of speeding and driving under the influence.

The highways of Arizona have over 300 electronic signs. For the past seven years, the Arizona Department of Transportation has organized a contest to choose the most humorous and creative messages.

Last year, there were over 3,700 submissions of ideas from various individuals. The chosen winners were “Seatbelts always pass a vibe check” and “I’m just a sign asking drivers to use turn signals.”

Many don’t find the harm in the humorous messages and are concerned that this is yet another way the federal government is intervening and dictating what is allowed within our state.