MnDOT Says They Won’t Get Rid Of Funny Signs, Despite New Rules

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Earlier this month, we got news that new federal rules would eliminate funny or creative electronic road signs used by state Departments of Transportation, including those seen on roadways in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The new guidance came as part of a larger overhaul the Federal Highway Administration released in December of 2023 of their “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways”.
While the lengthy update includes new rules on a lot of different traffic control mechanisms and road signs, the item that stuck out for many was a new rule that seemed to prohibit the usage of funny or creatively-worded messages on electronic road signs managed by entities like MnDOT and WisDOT.
The argument made by the Federal Highway Administration on the new rules is that these signs can “be misunderstood or be distracting to drivers” and can have “obscure meanings”. The new guidance explains messages should be “simple, direct, brief, legible and clear”.
READ MORE: What’s the deal with the creepy eye billboards seen on Minnesota roadways?
In the wake of this news, which has gotten a large conversation going online, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has responded uncharacteristically defiantly.
In a written statement provided by officials from MNDOT to KARE 11 TV in the Twin Cities, they say “We do not anticipate they will change the way MnDOT shares creative highway safety messages.”
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In the MnDOT statement, they argue there is value in these clever or funny signs, saying “We believe these messages are an important part of improving the culture of traffic safety in Minnesota, and why we will continue our Message Monday campaign.”
When it comes to states looking to be defiant on federal rules handed down, Minnesota is generally not at the top of that list. Despite that “Minnesota Nice” exterior, MnDOT appears poised to continue using clever language with some of their electronic sign messaging, which they’ve been doing since 2016.

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