A Stand Against Stupid and Ridiculous Uncle Sam Regulations!

TMJ Editorial

Feds Discourage States from Posting Humorous Signs

Trevor Phipps

Everyone has been there.

One day you are driving along the road minding your own business when suddenly a bright orange highway sign catches your attention, prompting you to giggle at the wheel as you read the government officials’ attempt at being funny.


Some of the signs add an element of humor to my trip. But others, just seem to sound stupid.


In fact, I have often wondered to myself, “Who comes up with these signs?” And since I know that the culprit is some government entity, I envision a group of bureaucrats sitting around the table tossing around ideas while drinking cappuccino and laughing to statements that aren’t funny to anyone else.


Some examples I have seen locally recently include “Puff Puff? Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” and “Make your mom proud don’t get a DUI.” Others that have been seen across the state include “Get your head out of your apps!” and “Don’t drive intoxicated.”


And evidently, Colorado is not the only state that chooses to use humor to warn motorists to drive safe. The Associated Press included examples like “Use Yah Blinkah” in Massachusetts; “Visiting in-laws? Slow down, get there late,” from Ohio; “Don’t drive Star Spangled Hammered,” from Pennsylvania; “Hocus pocus, drive with focus” from New Jersey; and “Hands on the wheel, not your meal” from Arizona.


The sad news for those who get a kick out of these poor attempts at humor, is the life of these signs may be short. Recently, the Federal Highway Administration published a 1,100 page manual that details how highway signs and other traffic control devices are regulated.


According to AP, the agency’s new manual that goes into effect in 2026, “signs should be ‘simple, direct, brief, legible and clear,’ when relaying important information like warning drivers of crashes overhead, adverse weather conditions and traffic delays, the agency said.” So, while the feds aren’t completely banning funny signs, the agency is highly discouraging states from using humor to warn motorists about safety.


When I was in high school, I had a friend once say, “Everything that is fun is illegal!” Now that I am olde,r I don’t necessarily agree with this statement 100 percent, but I believe this is an example of Uncle Sam taking away the fun.


And with further research I determined that most state governments make up some of the sayings for the signs themselves, but some of them are submitted by the public. So, to me it seems like a fun way for citizens and governmental officials to have a laugh to take away the stresses of daily life.


Arizona State Representative David Cook was quoted in an AP article saying that he thinks most people in Arizona like the humor and that he didn’t understand why the feds see a reason to step in and ruin the fun for everyone.


“Why are you trying to have the federal government come in and tell us what we can do in our own state?” Rep. Cook told Phoenix TV station CBS 5. “Prime example that the federal government is not focusing on what they need to be.”


Me personally (even though I don’t think most of the signs are funny), I don’t see any harm in signs that try to lighten up the day while encouraging driver safety at the same time. The only thing I can think is that is maybe the signs are distracting and that some people end up laughing so hard at the “funny” signs that they crash their vehicles and cause 20-car pileups.


But if this is the case, why is there no evidence that points at specific examples proving that humorous highway signs are dangerous? Why do our bureaucrats and state lawmakers find it necessary to keep coming up with laws that don’t address an actual problem that has taken place?


As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” The truth is we don’t need to pass a law outlawing jet packs in Woodland Park if nobody has ever used a jet pack in the town and no problems have ever been caused by jet packs.


It seems like common sense, but there are several examples of unnecessary laws coming to the table especially at this year’s Colorado legislative session. In this day and age, it seems like lawmakers are the worst at trying to fix things that aren’t broken.


Well for those that like the funny highway signs, your only saving grace is the fact that the feds are discouraging signs with puns and humor and not banning them. So maybe, just maybe, some states will choose to defy authority and not let the federal government rain on their parade.