The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will continue to display fatality messages on its overhead Dynamic Message Signs, but will do so on a weekly basis rather than daily. TDOT began displaying the fatality numbers on the signs in April 2012 after seeing a sharp increase in fatalities in the first quarter of the year.
“We feel the fatality messages have been extremely successful in increasing awareness about highway deaths across the state this year, and may have helped us stop the dramatic increase we saw early in 2012,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “We have also heard from drivers who say the messages have caused them to make positive changes in their driving behavior.”
While somewhat controversial, the fatality messages have garnered mostly positive responses from Tennessee motorists. A Franklin, Tn., man emailed to say the signs made an impression on him and his friends. He said, “I have to tell you that none of us ever wore seat belts until we saw those signs. We are all in our 50s and did not grow up wearing seat belts. Since we saw your signs, we kid each other on how ALL of us always wear them now. You may think people are not paying attention because fatalities are up, but I have talked to so many people that have changed their seat belt wearing habits since you put those signs up. Thank you.”
TDOT will also continue to run safety messages targeted at specific issues like texting while driving, drowsy driving, and driving under the influence.