I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT reveals winners of Safety Message Contest

ADOT reveals winners of Safety Message Contest

August 11, 2020

PHOENIX – A mystery person and a husband-and-wife team of a hero hiker and a kindergarten teacher are the winners of ADOT’s Safety Message Contest.

More than 5,500 votes were cast by the public for the 12 message finalists. The top two vote-getters and winners are:







“We’ve been amazed at the level of public interest each time we’ve held this contest and this year is no different,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Thousands of Arizonans sent us their messages and thousands more voted for their favorite. The purpose of displaying unconventional safety messages is to get people engaged and talking about making safer and smarter decisions behind the wheel. In that respect, this effort is a success.”

The identity of the author of “signal and ready to mingle” is unknown. Contest entrants have the option to include contact information when they submit their message, but contact information is not required and none was included with this entry. This is the first time in four years a winning message has gone uncredited in ADOT’s Safety Message Contest.

Scott and Paula Cullymore of Mesa teamed up to create the Seussian “red fish, blue fish, speeding’s foolish” message.

“It was almost to the deadline and I asked my wife, who’s a kindergarten teacher, if she had any ideas,” Scott said. “She said, ‘This week is Dr. Seuss Week,’ and that’s how the message came to be. She gets all the credit.”

Encouraging safe and smart behavior isn’t new to Scott. An avid hiker, he’s been known to hand out bottled water to dehydrated hikers on Camelback Mountain. He’s hopeful the message results in fewer speeders.

“This message is short and fast and you can read it almost without thinking,” he said. “Hopefully, it sticks with people.”

These winning messages will be displayed on overhead message boards at a later date. Currently, message boards are displaying regular traffic information and COVID-19 safety messages.

More than 4,000 messages were submitted to the contest this year. ADOT whittled the entries down to 12 finalists and a public vote determined the winning messages. 

ADOT displays unconventional safety messages on Dynamic Message Signs as part of an effort to change driver behavior and encourage motorists to make better decisions while driving. According to national statistics, driver behavior, like choosing to speed, driving distracted, impaired or reckless, plays a role in more than 90% of vehicle crashes.