Life-saving signs: TDOT taking entries for interstate sign contest


The Tennessee Department of Transportation is holding its third contest to see who can come up with the best safety message for the Dynamic Message Signs you see on the interstates.

The contest gives Tennessee motorists a chance to help the department raise awareness about various safety issues and save lives. Last year’s winning entries were: “Turn signals, the original instant messaging,” “Get the cell off your phone and drive,” “Practice safe text. Don’t do it while driving,” “You’re in Tennessee. Volunteer to drive safe,” and “Ain’t nobody got time for a wreck. Slow it down.”

Starting Monday, TDOT began taking entries for the 2017 Dynamic Message Sign Contest. Entries will be considered for five highway safety categories: seatbelt usage, impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding and aggressive driving.

“We’ve had great success with these DMS contests,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “We need to keep motorists in the habit of checking the message boards daily. These contests help TDOT accomplish our goal of saving lives by getting the attention of drivers and reminding them to practice safe driving habits.”

Entering the contest is easy! Just go to this link from TDOT’s website The contest web page will list the categories and allow you to type your message and submit your entry. The contest will run from Jan. 30 through Feb. 10. TDOT will then give the public the opportunity to vote on the best messages, also via the TDOT website. If you mention the contest on social media, make sure you let us know with the hashtag #WhatsYourSign. The winning message will be placed in rotation to run on the overhead Dynamic Message Signs statewide throughout the year. Any message containing profanity or lewd comments will be disqualified. The message boards are not to be used for advertising purposes; therefore, please refrain from using sport team names, singers’ names, etc., in your entries.

A total of 177 Dynamic Message Signs are located in the state’s four urban areas (Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville), and in some rural areas across the state. The main purpose of the signs is to alert motorists of incidents, lane blockages, hazardous road conditions, or Amber Alerts. In 2012, TDOT became the first DOT in the nation to display roadway fatality numbers on the overhead signs. In addition to the fatality statistics, safety messages are displayed during off-peak travel times.