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WISDOT Safety Board helps drivers get the message

Posted at 7:06 AM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 10:55:33-04

Ever wonder who comes up with the memorable messages you've seen on Wisconsin Roads? The Department of Transportation uses the message boards to raise awareness for a number of things, including drunk driving. They meet every few months to brainstorm ideas.

WISDOT Communications manager David Hunt leads the brainstorming session.

"What we try to do is focus on driver safety," Hunt said. "That's number one for us. ... It's sort of a sausage-making process."

Education, engineering and law enforcement are also departments represented around the table, including Lt. Nathan Clarke of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

"We act accordingly with our announcements and try and come up with something that provokes conversation,"Clarke said.

The group tries to keep the messages clear and concise. The panel uses holidays and current events to trigger ideas.

"Try and play with words in a way that we can make the signs have meaning to literally thousands, millions of drivers on the road," Hunt said.

DOT uses the messages for drive times, traffic patterns, weather conditions and emergencies. Drunk and distracted driving are also a big part.

"The idea is you want to get drivers information in a way where they're seeing it, they can digest it in a calmer setting before they absolutely have to have it," Hunt said.

DOT hopes the messages they come up with get people talking.

"It triggers the true intent of the public safety message. ... Get them talking and focus on traffic safety," Clarke said. "I mean when you lose 500 to 600 people on Wisconsin highways every year it's serious business."

You can submit your ideas for the message boards using the contact form by clicking here.