The Iowa Department of Transportation program, called "Roadside Chats" has been in effect since 2013. They post witty, clever messages on electronic billboards across the state of Iowa to remind drivers of safety measures to keep traffic fatalities down. They also take suggestions for their witty messages here.

The Iowa DOT has been having a few weeks of fun with the billboard messaging program, reminding drivers of the importance of buckling up and other precautions (i.e: laws), while paraphrasing funny lines from holiday movie favorites.

But according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, there's a Grinch out there called the Federal Highway Administration who thinks one-liners like "I like to buckle, buckling is my favorite" and “Why is the road wet, Todd?...Slow down, Margo!” might be a distraction counteractive to the purpose of the message--to keep people safe. You decide:

The Gazette says that a similar digital billboard program featuring clever signs in New Jersey (some of theirs even quote "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen!) had the brakes put on it.

Iowa DOT
Iowa DOT

Unlike Jersey, Iowa can cruise...for now

For now, there's no official word on the feds coming after Iowa yet. Soon to follow might be Wisconsin and Illinois, who also post funny quotes on their billboards. Research done in 2022 and sponsored by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration produced a report that concluded digital traffic signs with witty or humorous messages can have “adverse consequences on driving behavior”.


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