(USNewsBreak.com) – When driving down a highway, it’s not uncommon to see electronic signs listing traffic or weather conditions or the distance left until you reach a rest area. Over the past few years, though, there’s been an emerging trend. Cities and towns have turned to humor to remind drivers to be cautious, adding a bit of levity to the situation. However, the federal government is now looking to do away with these messages and is implementing a ban.
In December, the US Federal Highway Administration, a branch of the Transportation Department, released its new manual. In the 1,100 pages, the agency addresses the regulation of traffic control devices and signs and changes it’s implementing. In short, it has declared messages calling upon humor or adding pop culture references an abuse of the system. It claims that instead of being helpful, these messages distract drivers. Because of this, as of 2026, the Federal Highway Administration is banning these types of messages.
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According to the manual, electronic signs should only display messages that are “simple, direct, brief, legible and clear.” Additionally, highway departments should only use them when there are important notices, such as traffic delays, including construction, accidents, and adverse weather conditions. They can also use the signs to display reminders to wear seatbelts and emphasize specific dangers related to speeding or driving while under the influence.
Some lawmakers disagree. Rep. David Cook (R-AZ) spoke to Phoenix TV station CBS 5, saying he doesn’t see the issue with the enhanced signs. He believes “in Arizona, the majority of us” enjoy the humorous messages. In fact, the state regularly holds competitions to see who can come up with the most creative and funniest messages. Cook questioned why the federal government is intervening in a state concern and said it’s a “prime example that the federal government is not focusing on what [it] need[s] to be.”
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