Yah Boston accent is wicked hard to ignore — especially on yah highway traffic signs.
Or, at least it was when MassDOT unveiled its "Changing Lanes? Use Yah Blinkah" highway safety message earlier this year. The department is piggybacking off the successful buzz that sign stirred and recently called out to the public in a social media competition to create some fun, new slogans.
Starting Friday, safety messages created by the public will be posted on electronic signs along state highways.
Out of hundreds of entries, three messages addressing road rage, distracted driving and seatbelt use were chosen in the #DOTspeak Highway Message Board Contest. They are:
- Road Rage: “Keep Calm and Drive On,” submitted by Patrick Casey, of Boston. It will be posted between Aug. 15-18.
- Distracted Driving: “Put down the phone! Your LOLs and OMGs can wait," submitted by Justin Lovell, of Whitman, Mass. It will be posted Labor Day weekend.
- Seatbelt Use: “Make yah Ma proud, wear yah seatbelt,” submitted by The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program team of Safe Roads Alliance. It will be posted Columbus Day weekend.
“With the ‘Use Yah Blinkah’ sign, we got people’s attention,” MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola said in a statement, adding that changing up the signs could help motorists focus on messages that might sometimes be overlooked.
"I think now that people are looking for a new message, maybe a message drafted by a member of the public, they're gonna pay more attention to these signs and get more usable information off of it," he said in an interview with WBUR Thursday.
MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey also said in the statement that the department received "some very creative, thoughtful and funny message suggestions."
“I encourage people to continue to engage with us – you’re our eyes and ears on the road, and we rely on you to help keep the roads safe," Davey said.
With reporting from WBUR's Daniel Guzman.