Zero Fatalities, an Iowa Department of Transportation safety campaign aimed at raising driver awareness is responsible for the flashing messages you see as you travel along Iowa highways. This week’s signs warn drivers, ‘Drowsy is Lousy – Rest is Best,’ a reference to the high number of motor vehicle accidents resulting from driver fatigue. Annual crashes attributed to driving drowsy are a staggering 100,000, with 71,000 injuries reported.
Over the past year, other one-liners addressing the issue of distracted driving have graced the 70 plus digital signs across Iowa. A major source of distracted driving is smart phone or cell phone use of course, so the messages speak to many. A Yoda-of-Star-Wars inspired message greeted drivers on a specific day last May with, ‘May the 4th Be With You, Text I Will Not’. Other sage, and oftentimes, humorous advice directed at technology-addicted drivers have included ‘Exit to Text It’ and ‘Get Your Head Out of Your Apps and Drive Safely’.
Traffic engineer Willy Sorenson and his colleague Tracey Bramble make each other howl with laughter as they brainstorm comical messages, all the while hoping their efforts will get motorists to take note and drive more safely to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. They, and fellow DOT employees who chime in with ideas from time to time, focus on five areas that represent the most common contributors to traffic deaths: not wearing seat belts, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, and drowsy driving. If they can get the message across, Iowans will be safer out on the roads.
Source: The Des Moines Register, “Munson: Life-saving messages spark Iowa’s roadside quips” , by Kyle Munson , accessed January 12, 2016.
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