I wish I could say this was a joke, even though it seems pretty silly.

The Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation have been given the order to cease using their electronic signage to share funny messages. You know the ones, the messages that include things like punny phrases and pop culture references to get people to abide by the rules of the road.

READ MORE: MnDOT defiantly responds to new federal rules on 'funny' signs

In the final days of 2023, the Federal Highway Administration released its new "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways", which maintains the standards for road signs and other traffic control mechanisms on roads across the country.

In a statement on the new guide, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said “With this long-awaited update to the MUTCD, we are helping our state and local partners make it safer to walk, bike, and drive, and embracing new technologies with the potential to make our transportation system safer and more efficient.”

The last update to this guide was over a decade ago, so the government entity felt it needed to modernize its rules to accommodate the latest in technology and transportation trends.

MNDOT Facebook
MNDOT Facebook

One of the headlining changes is, on its surface, pretty simple and not of major consequence to the public. The federal agency said that state departments of transportation have until 2026 to cease using their electronic signage to share messages that are humorous in nature, even if they're intended to be informative.

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The Associated Press says officials feel these messages can "be misunderstood or be distracting to drivers" and can have "obscure meanings". In the update to the language, the Federal Highway Administration says signs should be "simple, direct, brief, legible and clear".

Apparently adding in a bit of humor can be more distracting than simply having a sign that says "crash ahead" or "wear a seatbelt", which are more in line with what they feel are appropriate messages.

Among messages permitted under the new guidance are important traffic information, alerts about crashes or weather conditions, seatbelt reminders, and messages about the dangers of speeding or driving impaired.

I guess I can't personally say I understand what the difference is between telling people to drive safely with or without humor. Beside maybe a couple of people feeling the need to try to take a picture of one of these signs while driving, I personally feel like getting people's attention and making your message more memorable is higher-impact than something dry.

Regardless of my feelings, MNDOT, WISDOT, and all of the other DOTs around the country will have until 2026 to get their laughs in before the new rules officially go into effect.

Here are some great examples of MNDOT signs that are just "So Minnesota".

14 Of The Most Minnesota MNDOT Road Sign Messages

Gallery Credit: Ken Hayes