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Maryland Workers' Compensation Attorneys > Blog > Car Accident > Federal Officials Claim Electronic Road Signs Could Increase Maryland Car Accident Risks

Federal Officials Claim Electronic Road Signs Could Increase Maryland Car Accident Risks


State highway officials use electronic signs posted over and alongside highways and interstates to convey important information to drivers. In the rush of going about their daily activities, motorists can easily overlook these signs, which often warn drivers to watch their speed, remain alert for heavy traffic conditions ahead, and otherwise spread the word about serious problems that can increase car accident risks.

Over the past few years, traffic officials have increasingly turned to humor to convey their message. Drivers often do a double take at electronic signs featuring clever quips or cheesy puns. Unfortunately, federal officials are not amused. Our Maryland car accident attorney explains how these signs could increase crash risks and why, moving forward, you are less likely to see them on the road.

Feds Claim Clever Signs Divert Attention and Increase Distracted Driving Risks

Car accidents in Maryland pose serious risks to all drivers. When crashes or collisions happen, distracted driving is one of the most common causes. This includes:

  • Taking your eyes off the road;
  • Taking your hands off the steering wheel;
  • Allowing your mind to wander from the complex task of driving.

Anything that causes a driver’s mind to wander or for them to look away for even a few seconds can put everyone on the road at risk. Electronic message boards are used on highways throughout the country to alert drivers to potential dangers that increase the likelihood of car accidents, including distracted driving. However, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recently decided that the signs themselves and the messages they convey can end up being a distraction as well.

How Funny Roadside Messages Increase Car Accident Risks

According to a January 2024 US News and World Report article, the FHWA is prohibiting the use of clever quips, puns, or jokes in conveying messages on electronic roadside message boards. In an update to the more than 1,000-page manual that dictates the rules and requirements for traffic signs and signals, the FHWA recommends state and local officials phase funny or clever electronic messaging out over the coming year.

Most drivers have encountered roadside messaging signs conveying serious information in a humorous tone. A clever quip about driving sober, jokes concerning road conditions, or other attempts at humor can elicit a smile when dealing with otherwise aggravating traffic conditions.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the few brief seconds it takes to read these signs and process the information diverts your attention from the road long enough for a crash to happen.

Injured Due To A Distracted Driver? Contact Our Maryland Car Accident Attorneys

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents in Maryland. If you or someone you love is hurt in this kind of crash, get the trusted legal guidance you need in filing a claim at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP. To get the compensation you are entitled to, call or contact us online and request a consultation with our Maryland car accident attorneys today.





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