Monday, February 27, 2017

Tennessee DOT tries to make safety ‘pun’

Can a clever – or even not so clever – pun help improve safety on the highways?

The Tennessee Department of Transportation recently started the voting process of a Dynamic Message Sign Contest that aims to cover such safety issues as distracted driving, seatbelt usage, impaired driving, speeding and aggressive driving.

Last year’s winners were:
  • Turn signals, the original instant messaging.
  • Get the cell off your phone and drive.
  • Practice safe text. Don’t do it while driving.
  • You’re in Tennessee. Volunteer to drive safe.
  • Ain’t nobody got time for a wreck. Slow it down.


This year, the Tennessee DOT received more than 2,000 entries for possible safety messages for the overhead signs located across Tennessee.

The entries were narrowed down to 15 finalists:
  • Not buckled up? What’s holding you back?
  • Speeding can lead to skid marks
  • Only bird brains tweet while driving?
  • Use your blinking blinker
  • Avoid a wreck. Don’t rubberneck.
  • Awwww snap – your seatbelt.
  • Shift happens! Especially in work zones.
  • Let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Buckle ‘em up!
  • Signal your intentions.
  • In a hurry? Shoulda left early. Slow down.
  • Nice headlights! Turn yours on during rain or fog.
  • Do your duty. Seatbelt your booty!
  • Ride like lightning, crash like thunder.
  • We’ve upped our road safety, so up yours.
  • Be kind, don’t ride my behind. 

You can vote for your favorite at the Tennessee DOT website. Voting ends on Tuesday, March 7. The winning phrases will be used in a rotation on overhead signs that also alert motorists to lane blockages, hazardous road conditions, or Amber Alerts.

While I cringe at several of these, the corny phrases are worth it even if they lead only one person to drive safer and avoid a fatal accident.

But I feel like we can do better. What would your slogan be to promote safety on the highways? I’m confident we can come up with something while avoiding the use of “Awwww snap.”