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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Funny highway signs in NJ cause distractions

Photo Credit: Danielle Allen
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) mission is to prevent vehicle-related-crashes. Are these signs helping or causing more crashes?

On the highway there have been signs informing people to pay attention to their driving, reminding them to wear a seat belt, or to not drive under the influence. These signs that started off as simple reminders, now turned into funny sayings.

Many states have the big light up sign reminding you to slow down. In a way to grab attention, funny and humorous notes were put up in regards to slowing down. Some found these distracting and not helpful to traffic, while other’s saw them as amusing. Although many states stopped these humors signs, New Jersey is still on a roll.

While driving on the highway or anytime, you should be paying full attention to the road. Not on your phone or intoxicated. A friendly or simple reminder to pay attention while driving or no drinking and driving is nice to have, but how about these new sayings? These simple reminders have gone holiday related to any day rhymes. Sayings like “Only Rudolph should be lit while driving, ” “Hold on to your butts” or “Reckless drivers are worse than fruitcake” are shared.

The Federal Highway Administration has started to set out laws to ban these distracting signs. Although the public may think they are funny, they have seemed to cause more accidents rather than avoiding them. Just think, who is taking pictures of these signs to share with social media? Civilians driving in their vehicles.

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Statistics of Highway Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a high number of people dying due to distracted driving in 2022. This could be due to our new highway reminders. The longer the message is the longer it will take to read. On the other hand, not everyone understands every pop culture reference. Some signs may not resonate with certain people, therefor they may not pay attention or  even care.

Although these signs have seem to cause more harm than good, a survey shows that 78% of people asked do not agree with the banning of the signs.

Nearing 2026, The Federal Highway Administration is looking to ban these signs. They have already began to discourage them in most states. With this most states did follow through and stop but not all just yet.

Public’s Opinion

Teen driver Antonio Scott enjoys the highway signs and does not find them as a distraction. He shares “When being stopped in traffic it is nice to see something to brighten your mood.” Scott thinks people who are distracted by them “should not have licenses in the first place, it is something to glance at hobbit should not keep your eyes off of the road.”

Dominque Draper has been driving for many years. As an adult, she shares ” I do not see the need for the funny sayings on the signs, I think they are a distraction especially to new drivers.” Draper thinks the signs should be “plain and simple, straight to the point.” She agrees with the fact of taking the signs away. “They may be something to enjoy but safety comes first.”

While humor can catch attention, highway reminder signs must prioritize safety above all else. Messages on signs should be concise without unnecessary words to avoid taking drivers’ eyes off the road for too long. Pop culture references risk confusing some and universal messages are best.

Photographing signs proves a clear distraction that signs discouraging photos could help address. Emphasizing the core safe driving behaviors of attention, no phones, no drinking through direct, calm reminders may have more impact than anything amusing. Simple, clear safety always has to be the top priority on our roads.


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About the Contributor
Jada Powell
Jada Powell, Editor
Jada Powell is a senior at Colonia High School part of the Varsity Cheer leading team. Powell was a part of the Colonia High School fashion club and recently joined Black Student Union. She has plans on continuing her path with journalism and wants to create her own podcast. Powell wants to have a career as an on screen news reporter. Powell Powell enjoys hanging out with friends, going shopping and collecting vinyls. She has a bubbly personality and enjoys going out meeting and talking to new people. Powell has an interest in government and politics in the United States as well as other countries by watching and reading the news as well as documentaries.

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