The Ohio Department of Transportations highway message boards are reminding drivers to slow down, buckle up and to not drive distracted over the Christmas holiday.
“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.”
Monday’s message mentions the 260,357 crashes recorded in the state so far this year and reminds drivers that life is “fra-gee-lay,” a reference to the 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.”
Driving slow in the left lane is a common trigger for road rage and aggressive driving behaviors that can lead to crashes.
Christmas Day travelers will see a message targeted at impaired driving based on the 1989 movie “Christmas Vacation.”
“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.
So far this year, 1,119 people have been killed on Ohio roads, an 8 percent increase over last year.