Feds recommending against humorous electronic messages on freeways

The Associated Press is reporting that the Federal Highway Administration is strongly recommending against the use of humorous and quirky messages on highways and freeways across the country.

In earlier reports, the AP stated that the agency banned such messages, but the news agency issued a correction on Jan. 19 on the story, stating the agency "strongly recommended against the use of humorous and quirky messages but did not ban them."

The majority of people who FOX 10 spoke with want the signs to stay. The signs attract their attention while keeping them informed.

"I'm actually going to miss it. I love seeing them."

"I personally will miss them if they're leaving because they actually catch my attention. Boring stuff doesn't catch my attention that well, so I like seeing the fun stuff, the puns, the funny ones."

"I've seen, ‘Drive high, get a DUI,’ ‘Drive hammered, get nailed.'"

There are more than 300 electronic signs above highways in Arizona. For the last seven years, the Arizona Department of Transportation has held a contest, searching for the most creative messages.

"I think we need fun, you know."

"Most of the ones I see are mostly just about if you are driving safe, something about putting your phone away."

We reached out to ADOT officials for comment, and we received a reply on Jan. 17, which reads:

"ADOT is disappointed in new federal guidelines discouraging use of creative traffic safety messages on overhead highway signs. Since 2015 these messages have been well received by Arizonans, promoting safe driving on our roadways. ADOT is continuing to analyze all of the changes in the new edition of the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to determine how they will be implemented."

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs also issued a statement on the issue, which reads:

"Arizona has led the nation in kick-starting conversations about traffic safety with our innovative and humorous highway message signs, prompting even national, high-profile figures to join the discussion," said Governor Katie Hobbs. "These signs have been incredibly popular with drivers, and are an important tool for engaging the public in traffic safety awareness. We hope the federal government reconsiders and allows the fun and informative phrases to continue on Arizona’s highway message signs."

(The Associated Press [AP] contributed to this report)