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Editorial

‘Use yah blinkah’ is wicked good safety advice

An electronic highway sign read "Changing Lanes? Use Yah Blinkah."

Associated Press

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Massachusetts drivers have a reputation for aggressiveness, and whether they’re receptive to improvement is an open question. The recent mannequin incident on Route 93 suggests that some drivers will do almost anything to get from point A to point B. Still, hats off to the state Department of Transportation for trying to preach — humorously — to an unruly congregation.

After a resident sent an e-mail to the state agency complaining about drivers who carelessly change lanes, MassDOT programmed the state’s electronic highway signs to read “Changing lanes? Use yah blinkah.” The messages promptly went viral and made headlines all over the country. Police across the state issued close to 5,000 citations in 2013 for failure to signal, and a little more than 1,000 through March 31 this year. MassDOT deserves praise for getting drivers to read safety advisories that normally go unnoticed. More state agencies should use humor to get a serious point across. Sure, an unintended safety hazard emerged as “drivahs” felt the need to snap photos of the signs while behind the wheel. Still, the MassDOT campaign received a lot of positive feedback from motorists, and some even shared their own suggestions for its a new PSA: “Get off mah bumpah.”

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