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'Santa needs the left lane tonight': ODOT promotes safe driving with holiday-inspired signs

Posted at 8:21 AM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 08:21:51-05

CLEVELAND — Chances are if you are heading out on the road on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you’re going to see a clever message on one of Ohio Department of Transportation’s message boards. While they carry some humor inspired by the holidays, these messages have a purpose: to promote safe driving during the holiday season.

To promote safe driving, ODOT uses more than 130 digital message boards to display safety messages and relevant statistics.

"The vast majority of traffic deaths in Ohio are completely preventable," said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. "While we engineer roads to be as safe as possible, the one thing we cannot control is driver behavior. We're urging drivers to put down the phone, buckle up, drive sober, and obey the speed limit."

One message reminds drivers life is “fra-gee-lay," a reference to a popular holiday movie “A Christmas Story.”

On Christmas Eve, drivers will be reminded to stay to the right unless passing slower traffic because "Santa needs the left lane tonight."

"While the subject is very serious, we have found that the public responds better to messages that are humorous or relate to pop-culture," said Marchbanks.

On Christmas Day, travelers will see a message targeted at impaired driving based on the 1989 movie "Christmas Vacation."