House Resolution Calls Use Of DOT Dynamic Message Signs "Orwellian"


Dynamic message signs used by the DOT are basically signs which can be programmed to display different messages.

They can be mobile and temporary – warning motorists about road construction or flooded roads – or they can be permanent. Such as signs in major urban areas alerting drivers to traffic jams.

But a resolution – HCR3007 – sponsored by Rep. Rick Becker, a Republican from Bismarck, seeks to limit how those signs are used suggesting that in some ways their use is…”Orwellian.”

“[T]hese signs can be obtrusive, distracting, and Orwellian when not used with proper discretion,” the resolution reads.  It then calls for the Department of Transportation to “use dynamic message signs solely for weather-related, road condition, emergency, work zone, and missing persons messages.”

I could understand a desire to keep our roadways free of a lot of extraneous signage. Motorists confronted with too many messages end up confused.


These dynamic signs are often the target of hackers, who often post humorous messages on them, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sign used in an “Orwellian” way.

I support the idea of the legislature expressing to the DOT that they should be reticent in their use of these signs, but I got a chuckle out of the idea that they represent Big Brother or something.