New Safety Messages Coming to Road Signs MassDOT
They are so New England, it hurts.
It’s hard to be both funny and informative when talking about “road rage,” said Frank DePaola, administrator of MassDOT’s traffic division. But state transportation officials decided to let motorists have a go.
In June, MassDOT launched a contest called “DOTSpeak,” a social media crowd-sourcing experiment where they asked residents to come up with new safety slogans addressing road rage, distracted driving, and seatbelt use, and promised that the best words of those submitted would be posted on digital billboards suspended above state-run highways like the Mass. Turnpike and I-93.
The safety slogan contest followed the successful deployment of a billboard message that went out in June and told drivers to use “Yah Blinkah”. The simple, impulsive saying was so well received by drivers that the billboard images quickly went viral, and were later picked up by local and national media. In the end, the message did exactly what MassDOT had hoped it would do: get drivers to remember the rules of the road.
“We’ve had a lot of public attention and discussion about it,” DePaola said. “It has increased awareness of good driving habits.”
To try and reflect that success, MassDOT launched the contest, and within just a few months, they received over 500 submissions, most of which played the coveted Boston accent or used terminology only heard at home. within Massachusetts borders.
“Some of them were pretty funny. I liked them. There was good creativity and also a lot of repetition,” DePaola said of the submissions. “We couldn’t use some of them; they didn’t worked out so well. But I thought it was a good contest.”
Of the hundreds of suggestions MassDOT received, a task force within the Department of Transportation offices was tasked with narrowing the list down to the top three to be viewed by the public.
The first of these messages, a two-line phrase about holding back anger while driving, will start appearing above drivers’ vehicles from this weekend. DePaola said motorists can expect to see the phrase “Keep Calm and Drive On,” which was submitted by Allston resident Patrick Casey, flash on billboards soon.
On Labor Day weekend, motorists will be greeted by another sign, this one about distracted driving, DePaola said. “Hang up the phone. Your LOLs and OMGs can wait,” the signs will read. This post was created by Whitman resident Justin Lovell.
The third and final winning post, which will appear on Columbus Day weekend, was submitted by members of the Safe Roads Alliance and will remind people to buckle up: “Make Yah Ma Proud, Wear Yah Seatbelt.”
Along with seeing their clever slogan appear on hundreds of billboards across the state, each winner will also receive a $50 gift card from service partners such as Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Exxon Mobil and McDonald’s. , and Gulf will provide each winner with a $100 gift card, DePaola said.
It is also possible that posts are part of the regular MassDOT rotation.
DePaola said he didn’t expect the sayings to be as “taken up in this social media – whatever you want to call it” like the “Use Yah Blinkah” campaign, but he hopes the tongue-in-cheek approach is always able to bring out safety messages in people’s minds when traveling on national roads.
“The fact that people are talking about public safety messages, I hope they think about those things next time before they do it,” he said.
Here is a list of slogans that were not retained:
“Need to text? PAHK YA CAH!”
“You waited 86 years for the Sox. Keep calm in traffic”
“Let your tweet take a back seat”
“Broken Down? Use Yah Hazzid Lights”
“These Ahn’t Bumpah Cahs. Give yourself some space”
“Inhale, exhale. Namaste”
“Storms are raging, drivers shouldn’t”
“Tailgate at Gillette, not here”
“Buckle up, guys. Use Yah Noggin”
“Don’t Point With Yah Middle Fingah”
” Things are getting hot ? settle down”