So you're on Interstate 70 and you see one of those signs where MoDOT can post information on delays, or crashes. You know, the ones that usually tell you to buckle up and put the phone down. Or not to speed. The ones that occasionally tell you to do or not to do those things with a little bit of humor?

Well, the humor may be going away. It seems the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration doesn't have a sense of humor. Or at the very least, they're worried that the motoring public, or some of the motoring public, misses the point or has problems understanding what the message is about.

CW33 has a news story talking about those signs going away in Texas and quotes the Federal Highway Administration's latest Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices. It says this on page 519 according to the TV station:

"Messages with obscure or secondary meanings, such as those with popular culture references, unconventional sign legend syntax, or that are intended to be humorous, should not be used as they might be misunderstood or understood only by a limited segment of road users and require greater time to process and understand. Similarly, slogan-type messages and the display of statistical information should not be used."

I get the part of the guidance that suggests skipping the statistical gobbledegook. There's a theory in radio that when you're talking about statistical data, any way you can simplify the numbers down it's easier for the listeners to pick up what you're trying to say.

Yet, I've never had a problem getting the message to not speed, buckle up, slow down, not tailgate, and the rest of it when some state DOT employee gets a little witty with the messages.

Not that the folks running MoDOT's signs are all that clever. Sometimes, they seem to knock it out of the park with something witty, but many times MoDOT's signs seem to already be in line with the Federal Highway Association's guidance. All that said, I'll miss some of the witty sayings. Sometimes it made sitting in traffic a little more bearable or provided a much-needed chuckle on a long drive.

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You can check out a video of the facility from CrazyBags on Youtube.

Gallery Credit: Rob Creighton

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