No more fun and games. Electronic messages on highways and freeways with a comedic touch will soon become obsolete. Federal officials plan to eliminate humorous signs nationwide by 2026.
Navigating Texas highways is a serious matter. To enhance safety on these highways and freeways, authorities install signs throughout the state to communicate information about accidents, adverse weather conditions, and general safety precautions.
Every now and then, a playful sign may inject a bit of humor into an otherwise somber or even anxiety-provoking driving experience.
You’ve encountered these signs before—electronic messages with a touch of humor displayed on highways throughout the nation. Messages like: BUCKLE UP WINDSHIELDS HURT, SLOW DOWN THIS AIN’T THUNDER ROAD, or WE’LL BE BLUNT DON’T DRIVE HIGH.
In the recently published 11th edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD), a comprehensive manual spanning over a thousand pages, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has introduced fresh guidelines pertaining to traffic control devices and highway signs.
These updated regulations explicitly prohibit the use of humorous traffic signs, categorizing them as potential distractions.
According to the new regulations, signs are to be exclusively employed for conveying information about upcoming accidents, traffic delays, or adverse weather conditions.
“Messages with obscure or secondary meanings,” the manual reads, “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.”
“The new MUTCD gives greater consideration to all road users, who deserve to be safe when traveling on our streets and roads,” Federal Highway Administrator, Shailen Bhatt stated in a press release. “It will also help improve the public’s travel experience whether driving on an Interstate or crossing the street in cities and towns across America.”