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#DOTspeak campaign tahgets safety

An electronic highway sign is seen on Interstate 93 in Boston on May 9. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation posted the message "Changing Lanes? Use Yah Blinkah" on the signs around the city. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Back in May, MassDOT introduced its “Use Yah Blinkah” campaign, which sought to eradicate hazardous lane changing practices across the state by inspiring motorists to slow down and Instagram blurry iPhone photos of clever slogans on big blinky roadside message boards.

In any case, people wicked liked it. Mostly.

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If you’ve ever felt compelled to send a little text message to your fellow commuters in the middle of peak traffic (please don’t), MassDOT’s freshly announced follow-up to #useyahblinkah could be just what you need. Meet #DOTspeak.

Until Aug. 1, the department will be accepting submissions for succinct, zingy, and regionally flavored safety slogans, themed to target peak weekends — Aug. 15 - 18 will be all about preventing road rage, Labor Day weekend will address distracted driving (funny signs don’t count), and Columbus Day weekend will remind drivers to buckle up — ideally with a cartoonishly cranked up accent. Strangely, there’s no weekend devoted to chastising those people who just space out and leave their blinker on indefinitely.

The point is, this is your chance to be famous. But first you must follow rules:

#DOTSPEAK entries may use local vernacular or contain common texting abbreviations, no profanity please. The messages must adhere to the highway sign character limitations.

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That means you must compose a two-panel message, each with three lines and eight characters per line. But it also means coming up with a way to make it sound like your Aunt Helen from Hubbardston is saying it. You can see some of what you’re up against at the rapidly growing collection under #DOTspeak:

You can submit your own slogan via Twitter @MassDOT, on Facebook , and on Instagram with #DOTSPEAK.

More Thing Tank:

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Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.
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