Despite the gridlock, incessant honking and similar Masshole moves, motorists traveling along busy state roadways over the weekend may have noticed a little less road rage thanks to signs displaying a simple yet constructive message: “Keep Calm and Drive On.”
More than 500 Massachusetts motorists offered their snappiest safety phrases in a first of its kind MassDOT contest that sought creative messages on how to deter road rage and distracted driving, and encourage seatbelt use.
In the end, Patrick Casey, of Allston won for“Keep Calm and Drive On,"Justin Lovell, of Whitman won for"Put down the phone, the LOLs and OMGs can wait" and The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program team of Safe Roads Alliance won for"Make yah Ma proud, wear yah seatbelt,"
“We received some very creative, thoughtful and funny message suggestions,” said MassDOT CEO Richard A. Davey. “I encourage people to continue to engage with us – you’re our eyes and ears on the road, and we rely on you to help keep the roads safe.”
The signs will be displayed during high traffic weekends on the state’s busiest roadways, including Interstates 93, 95, 90 and 91 and routes 3, 6 and 24. Labor Day weekend's signs will convey the texting warning, while Columbus Day weekend will focus on seat belts.
The idea for #DOTspeak followed the viral success of MassDOT’s “Use Yah Blinkah” signs, which went live in May and poked fun at Boston accents.
Rules of the Road Signs
The challenge for creators was to create a two panel message that was three lines per panel, and eight characters per line.
In addition to letters, submissions could also include commas, question marks, exclamation points, ampersands and number signs. Local vernacular and common texting abbreviations were accepted, but profanity was prohibited.
#DOTspeak's winners were rewarded with donated gift cards from Gulf, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Exxon Mobil, and McDonald’s. DePaola said the agency may very well launch a similar contest next year.
“I think humor catches people’s attention, especially when it comes to road rage,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “If it’s a funny phrase, people tend to repeat it. "If we can have a public discussion about safe driving habits than that is really positive, because it's a subject that people normally ignore.”