What Did That Freeway Sign Say?

I saw one today.  It reported the number of traffic fatalities in our state as of this date.  In cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation, we want zero deaths on our roads and streets.  Maybe it will help if you know how many people lost their lives this year today. Maybe it will help you remember not to text and drive, or drink and drive, or not do any other unsafe thing and drive.

Toward Zero Deaths is a new statewide safety campaign based on the national strategy on highway safety intended to influence driver behavior and improve safety. With over 35,000 fatalities occurring on US highways each year, roadway safety remains one of the most challenging issues facing Michigan, and the nation.

One day per month on various I, M and US routes, Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) will display the number of traffic fatalities on Michigan roadways year to date. If there is a higher-priority message to display, the sign will be switched. Higher priority messages include incident messages, lane closures, shoulder closures and work zone messages. This program will run from July through November 2013.

Driver behavior factors into nearly 90 percent of all fatal crashes and one key to changing driver behavior is educating the public on the scope of the issue. Posting fatality messages on DMS is one simple and inexpensive way MDOT can contribute to that effort. Currently, nine states are posting fatality messages on their own DMS.