By Dallas Hammit / ADOT Deputy Director for Transportation
For more than a year, this agency has made an effort to creatively use the state’s electronic message signs in a way that not only provokes a reaction from motorists, but most importantly, sparks essential conversations about traffic safety topics, including drunk driving, seat belt safety and distracted driving.
From Star Wars references to a smart take on a controversial guacamole recipe, the messages have all made a mark, meaning the safety advice we’re trying to deliver is getting through. That has become even more evident this month after ADOT launched its first Safety Message Contest
The entries started rolling in almost immediately — we received 4,000 in the first 24 hours. Right now, ADOT employees are working to select the top entries that will move on to the next round of public voting. The overall winning message will appear on our overhead signs for two days in April.
While this contest has offered a fun way for the public to share their creativity, it has been exciting to see so many people give their attention to transportation safety. Many of the submitted safety messages have been original and funny, but they’ve also been right on target when it comes to safety messaging, which is exactly what we were hoping for.
Of course, the whole reason why we’re using unconventional safety messaging on our overhead signs in the first place stems from a larger effort, outlined in the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Plan
. The goal of that plan is to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads in Arizona.
I encourage you to visit azdot.gov/signcontest
once the finalists are announced to vote for your favorite safety message. I also hope you’ll take the cue from our messages by continuing to make safe driving a priority and to help with this agency’s effort as we work to change dangerous driving behaviors.
Editor's Note: More safety messages from Dallas Hammit, ADOT's state engineer, are available at Driving Safety Home on azdot.gov.