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IDOT takes signage to the next level

Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019

* You may have noticed that IDOT has been putting clever messages on some of its electronic billboards lately…



* But then all of a sudden this billboard appeared all over the place. I saw it twice on Interstate 57 during the weekend…

* I reached out to IDOT and received this reply from Jessie Decker…

Hi, Rich-

We’ve seen a recent increase in social media posts including pictures of our signs taken from the driver’s perspective. We love that people are interested in helping spread the word about safety on our roads. However, taking pictures while driving is obviously dangerous – and it’s also illegal to use a handheld device while driving.

We are finding new ways, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, to bring attention to serious issues. Anything we can do to get people to stop and consider NOT using their phones while behind the wheel is a message we support.

Thanks,
Jessie

* Not everyone is convinced, however…



Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments »
  1. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 8:55 am:

    This is why we can’t have nice things.


  2. - Because I said so... - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 8:57 am:

    Frankly, I’m surprised they’re allowed to post these kinds of messages. The FHWA has strict guideline for messages on signs. But when your President tweets 24/7, I guess anything goes…


  3. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 8:57 am:

    Signs on the Expressway yesterday said “Drive like your family is in the car next to you.”

    I had the incredible urge to shout “Stop fighting or I’m pulling this car over!” at everyone I passed.


  4. - DuPage Guy - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 8:58 am:

    I love it. Made my trips down I-39 less boring. I also remember seeing posts referencing Star Wars on/around May 5th, and it cracked me up for about ten minutes.


  5. - DuPage Guy - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 8:59 am:

    Correction, May 4th.


  6. - Steve Rogers - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:00 am:

    I suppose I can’t use my red swingline stapler while driving either.


  7. - Leslie - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:01 am:

    IDOT to Charlie: It is an excellent strategy, and stop calling me Shirley


  8. - OutHereInTheMiddle - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:04 am:

    and we paid a million dollars per sign for this?


  9. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:05 am:

    Too bad people are so dumb as to use their phones to take pictures and text while driving. I aplaud IDOT for the effort but until texting while driving is punished like drinking and driving the problem will persist. Distracted drivers are every bit as dangerous as drunk drivers and fatalities are on the rise due to distracted texting drivers.


  10. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:06 am:

    Here’s one they can use, free of charge.

    Expect to see “BUMP” signs. We only have enough for the signs…fixin em? Not so much.


  11. - a drop in - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:10 am:

    Do they take suggestions?


  12. - New Slang - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:10 am:

    The hands-free/no texting law is such a sham. I mean seriously? Who here doesn’t encounter MOST people on their phones while driving. Every. Single. Day. It gets more blantant and abundant. Crazy times.


  13. - Leatherneck - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:12 am:

    I would prefer estimated travel times and accident/construction alerts (when necessary) be shown on the electronic billboards.


  14. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:12 am:

    These signs are fun and cute, but when you drive that route regularly you usually check it to see ETA to your destination. So when a cutesy message shows up between ETA times, you stare at it 2x as long taking eyes off the road. So in effect, IDOT is causing distraction. Just leave ETA times up there and stop with the cute messages. Warnings, amber alerts - cool - there’s a purpose to get behind, but even that…


  15. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:13 am:

    These actually started last August. Since then I’ve taken three interstate road trips (last one end of February 2019) and noticed the same types of messages are being used in other states.

    I don’t have a problem with them. They break the boredom of the road. They have clever reminder messages that stress safety issues.

    Keep them coming guys.


  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:13 am:

    The “get off my lawn/different = bad” crowd tries to spoil everything fun.
    Negativity is contagious. Do us all a favor and quarantine yourselves.


  17. - Tomacci - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:15 am:

    I like this idea from IDOT. Unfortunately we are “smartphone-addicted” these day, so that eye catching messages might provide some help. Would be nice to see something similar applied to railroad trespassing and grade grade crossings.


  18. - Hamlet's Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:17 am:

    My favorite tollway sign ever comes from Boston where a trend had developed to not bother using turn signals.

    Various messages failed to have any effect until they posted this:

    Use Ya’ Blinka’


  19. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:18 am:

    I love that Lumbergh from Office Space is writing the copy for that first sign. Personally I think they’re great. And they always have a message between travel times so I have no problem with that.


  20. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:21 am:

    The humor is better than repeating the same bland message, and might be effective at reducing texting while driving. But the “Please stop taking pictures of this” is foolish.


  21. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:27 am:

    Thomas Paine - “I had the incredible urge to shout ‘Stop fighting or I’m pulling this car over!’ at everyone I passed.”

    I second that (banned punctuation).

    To a drop in- Yes they did take suggestions…

    http://www.idot.illinois.gov/dms-contest


  22. - lakeside - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:31 am:

    Honestly, these signs have been so good the last year or so. I’m not mad at all.


  23. - Tom - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:34 am:

    I love funny signs. Bravo to the clever folks at IDOT.


  24. - Minnie Pearl Jam - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    Love ‘em ! All of ‘em !

    Great way to cut through the clutter to deliver a life saving measure.


  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    I get the concept of using humor to grab attention, but I think stressing the deadly consequences of texting and driving is more appropriate.

    Making light of it reduces the seriousness of the problem. You don’t crack wise about drunk-driving.


  26. - Sox Fan - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    I’m fine with the signs. However I agree with the poster that said the law is a sham. Enforcement really needs to be stepped up. I’m a runner. I would guess that 7/10 times I’m close to being hit as a pedestrian, the driver is on their phone. Distracted driving is a real issue


  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:47 am:

    ISPs twitter and FB have also been on it lately.

    ISP had more FB likes than both Gov. Rauner and Pritzker combined


  28. - The Dude Abides - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 9:56 am:

    I agree with the observations of previous posters. Half the time I go somewhere in town, even if it’s a 10 minute trip, I spot at least one distracted driver. You will see a driver up ahead of you weaving from one edge of the lane then back to the other several times and you know before you get up there that they are texting. Another common occurrence is when you are sitting at a traffic light and when the light changes there’s one car in front of you that won’t go when it’s their turn because they’re texting and as a result several people behind them have to sit thru the light twice. It really has a negative effect on commute time. My sister got rear ended last year while sitting at a traffic light by a distracted driver texting on her phone. The laws on driving while using your cell phone just aren’t being enforced. Kudos to IDOT for trying this.


  29. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    Here’s where the idea came from:

    http://www.idot.illinois.gov/dms-contest


  30. - Collinsville Kevin - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:14 am:

    The IDOT can’t fix roads and spends money on these signs. No wonder the state is broke.


  31. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:19 am:

    Collinsville Kevin- those signs are used for more than just this type of messaging. Amber and Silver Alerts, traffic reroutes due to construction, accidents, etc., and weather alerts. Frankly, I’m glad to have them downstate and not just on the Chicago area road systems.


  32. - Tommydanger - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    Sheesh. To the complainers about something creative and different: “Lighten up Francis.”


  33. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    @Anon221 — Thanks for posting that link — I was gonna urge Rich to dig a little deeper and find out who the brainchild is behind the messages. I was envisioning Shirley in accounting ;)


  34. - JoanP - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    I really don’t like these signs. They are distracting, and if we’re trying to stop distracted driving, why do that? (Fact is, when I saw that “don’t take pictures of this sign” sign, I figured that would just encourage the idiots.)

    I’m with Leatherneck: I want to see travel times and accident/construction alerts.


  35. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    They’re really asking for it on this one. It’s like putting a sign on someone’s back saying “please don’t kick me!”


  36. - statehoss - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    This is really reassuring once you understand that idiots like those taking these pictures are included in the calculation of collision statistics.

    They’re skewing the averages, which means my chance of getting in an accident is much lower than I’d previously believed.


  37. - LXB - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    ==The IDOT can’t fix roads and spends money on these signs. No wonder the state is broke.==

    Yes, I’d imagine the entire highway repair budget went to pay these copywriters.


  38. - Huh? - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    “The FHWA has strict guideline for messages on signs”

    Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Chapter 2L is the applicable guidance for changeable message signs. I am sure that IDOT knows this section very well and has discussed, if necessary, any message that is posted with the Illinois Division of the FHWA.


  39. - Mr. Chairman - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    Government with a sense of humor. Keep it coming.


  40. - revvedup - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    Next signs will read “This Sign Intentionally Blank” to appease those upset with IDOT’s sense of humor.


  41. - Old illini - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 8:23 pm:

    Some of these messages come from other states.

    I liked Feb 14th’s: Don’t text — tell her you love her in person


  42. - Odysseus - Tuesday, Mar 12, 19 @ 10:11 pm:

    It was very disconcerting to see the Office Space homage. The character who says that line is such a tool that I wondered how many people would do the exact opposite out of spite.


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