In recent months the Illinois Department of Transportation dynamic message signs have gone from witty, to startling to downright funny.
IDOT’s goal is to get drivers to be safer on the roads, to stop distracted driving, get motorists to wear seat belts, end drunk driving and more.
Jamie Simone is one of the creative minds at IDOT brainstorming the eye catching sayings which started going up more regularly this past spring.
“It started with Loyola going to the Final Four,” she said. “It said something like, ‘Buckle up so you can ramble on.’ … Anytime you’re behind the wheel it’s a huge responsibility with life and death consequences.”
The signs are all controlled from a centralized computer system.
At IDOT’s traffic management center in Schaumburg, signs for Chicago and the collar counties are updated by hand throughout the day and rotate between traffic incidents, travel times and catchy messages.
‘Studies have shown about 80% of motorists will actually heed what they see on the signs,” Simone said. “So it does do good.”
Officials said in both 2016 and 2017 traffic deaths climbed to more than 1000 in Illinois. Nearly half of the people are people under 35. So focusing on a younger audience has become a priority.
“These messages we’re putting up on the signs they can be fun they can be very serious,” Simone said. “But the underlying issue is that we have way to many deaths on our roads and serious injuries that alter people’s lives forever.”
IDOT is also having a contest to get people to submit messages. More information at http://www.idot.illinois.gov/dms-contest