Feds force New Jersey to yank sassy highway safety messages

The highways are jammed with snarky road signs — and the feds don’t like it.

Killjoys at the Federal Highway Administration have reportedly ordered New Jersey officials to stop putting up cute and funny message boards with in-your-face safety warnings, such as: “Hold onto your butts — help prevent forest fires” and “Get your head out of your apps.”

The federal regulators came down with the ban on Wednesday, just about a month after New Jersey started putting the sassy missives up on programmable electronic signs around the Garden State’s many highways, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The now-banned bulletins also included homages to Bruce Springsteen (“Slow down. This ain’t Thunder Road”) and other attitude-laced statements like, “We’ll be blunt — don’t drive high.”

But the feds showed they were the real Boss, as they didn’t explain why they put the kibosh on the signs.

“The FHWA has instructed us to cease posting these creative safety messages,” an NJ DOT spokesman told the paper.

The tone of the signs was meant to be “quintessential New Jersey,” officials said.
NJDOT
a digital sign about the highway says "hocus pocus drive with focus"
A Halloween-themed message last month.
NJDOT

Reached by phone on Thursday, an NJ DOT spokesman declined to comment.

The FHWA did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment. A rep told the Inquirer the agency “is aware of the changeable message signs and has reached out to NJDOT.”

In an interview Tuesday, before the ban, NJ DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti touted the messages as a way “to get the attention of folks on the road with messages that are quintessential New Jersey — kind of in-your-face.”

“We’re meeting drivers where they are, and these messages have caught on in a big way,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said, according to the report.

“The two biggest messages we want to get across are to slow down, and to obey the state’s Move Over Law … These messages are just one of many ways we’re trying to make our roads safer.”

The messages lasted barely a month before the feds intervened.
NJ DOT
a digital sign above a highway says "does it come with a turn signal?"
The messages were discontinued on Wednesday.
NJDOT

Other “quintessential New Jersey” bulletins included “Don’t cruise boozed,” “Hocus pocus — drive with focus” and “Nice car. Did it come with a turn signal?”

The messages were transmitted on 215 digital signs on highways across the state.

NJ DOT’s cheeky signs were such a hit that officials had to urge drivers not to take photos of them.

“We’re glad you’re enjoying the new safety messages, but please don’t take pictures of the VMS board while driving!” the agency tweeted on Oct. 17. “It is very dangerous and defeats the message we’re trying to drive home.”

a tweet says "We're glad you're enjoying the new safety messages, but please don't take pictures of the VMS board while driving! It is very dangerous and defeats the message we're trying to drive home."

An accompanying image of a cat behind a steering wheel says "if you keep taking photos... we will turn this car around and go back to the old messages."
Officials warned drivers not to take photos of the jokes while driving.