Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

Student News for Horizon Honors Secondary School

The Horizon Sun

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So-Long to Silly Street Signs

United States highways may no longer be able to display humorous messages on digital road signs.
A holiday themed sign in Maine.
NBC News
A holiday themed sign in Maine.

Any individual who has rode through a highway in the United States has likely seen one of the changing message signs with orange lettering telling drivers to buckle-up, not speed, stop texting, or decline drinking and driving in fun and humorous ways. Unfortunately, those lines are no more, as the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has put a halt to state transportation departments displaying these messages.

AP News states that changes to a 1,100 page manual put out by the FHWA about highway regulation have caused the changeable message signs to change. The manual states that signs must be “simple, direct, brief, legible and clear.” The FHWA also stated that using quirky messages is deemed distracting and could be misinterpreted. Instead, the signs must be used to display weather warnings, traffic, and public alerts. Public reminders will still be shown, just without the jokes Americans have come to adore. States are required to implement these new regulations by 2026, meaning that the signs will be fully phased out by 2026.

However, only a day after these rules were received, the FHWA clarified these were just recommendations. 12 News reported that after heavy backlash, the FHWA put out a statement clarifying the rules. Part of the statement on the signs said “Rather, it includes a recommendation to avoid the use of humor and pop culture references in changeable message signs that may confuse or distract drivers.” While this is good news for drivers, it is still likely that the FHWA will be pressuring states to implement these recommendations on their own signs.

While the beloved signs may still stand, it acts as a reminder as to how the things we cherish, even if it’s a road sign, can be cast away in an instant.

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