Utah DOT uses variable message signs to get personal with the driving public

July 2, 2018

The new messaging campaign is the agency’s effort to reduce speed and boost safety, save lives

Utah has something called the 100 Deadliest Days, a span of time that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day during which road incidents increase by approximately 50%. Consequently, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is getting creative with its traffic sign messaging by employing personalized messages on its overhead highway variable message signs to grab the attention of drivers on the road.

“We want to personalize these messages. We want to be speaking to people, just like you would if you were talking to a friend. It’s a message that needs to get across,” UDOT spokesman John Gleason told local news outlet KSL.

UDOT chose a few common names to display on the highway signs: Jen, Jared, Kristy, Josh, and Mike.

Moreover, five different messages will remind drivers about the five deadliest driving behaviors during the summer: distracted driving, drowsy driving, impaired driving, speeding, and driving without wearing a seatbelt.

For the last three years, UDOT has sponsored “Message Monday,” by displaying unique messaging on overhead highway signs to remind drivers to drive safely.

“Anything that we can do to bring attention to these driving behaviors—that’s our goal here, to cut down on the number of fatalities—bring that number down to zero where it should be.” Gleason said.

UDOT hopes these sign will encourage drivers to fix any bad driving habits they might have. UDOT said its 100 Deadliest Days of Summer are not deadly because there is bad weather or poor road conditions, but rather because drivers tend to make poor decisions when the sky is clear and the roads are dry.

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