The Tennessee Department of Transportation is once again holding a contest to see who can come up with the best safety message for the Dynamic Message Signs you see on the interstates. TDOT’s goal with these messages has always been to raise awareness of highway safety. The contest gives Tennessee motorists an opportunity to be a part of our mission to save lives. This year, TDOT is inviting students to participate. Last year’s winning entry was, “Texting and driving, Oh cell no!” Other popular messages included, “Eyes on the road and head out of your apps” and “Buckle up y’all. It’s the law”.

Beginning Tuesday, January 19, TDOT will begin taking entries for the Dynamic Message Sign Contest. Entries will be considered for five highway safety categories: seatbelt usage, impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, and aggressive driving.

“Last year’s contest was such a huge success,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “We were amazed by the amount of creative submissions we received. Several schools expressed an interest in participating, and we’re excited to extend an invitation to students, our future drivers, to 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 TDOT’s website and click on “TDOT Safety Message Contest”. The contest web page will list the categories, and will allow you to type your message and submit your entry. The contest will run from January 19 through February 2. 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. Keep it clean! Any message containing profanity or lewd comments will be disqualified.

A total of 190 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.