CDOT is using interest in Star Wars to promote safe driving.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Teaser 2 screencap by Dale Jackson.

In tandem with the release of the Hollywood blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has launched new traffic signs, as Allison Sylte reports for 9News (KUSA). The signs use humor to implore drivers to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.

As The Denver Channel team writes, in an article titled “Colorado Department of Transportation Hops on Star Wars Bandwagon with New CDOT Signs,” the highway signs say, in bright yellow, lit-up capital letters:

THE FORCE IS

STRONG WITH YOU

PUT DOWN THE PHONE

The Denver Channel’s Jaclyn Allen spotted the sign at night and took a picture of it. From her Twitter account, @jaclynreporting, she made sure to tweet that she was not driving when she took the picture. “There’s no word yet on if the signs come with Jedi mind control powers,” wrote The Denver Channel.

Over on Twitter, @ColoradoDOT wrote:

CDOT tweet

And @UtahDOT replied: [email protected] @iowadot @ArizonaDOT I find your lack of seat belt disturbing #JediDriver #starwars [plus an icon that we can’t replicate here] #MessageMonday.”

Another CDOT tweet read: “Patience, young Jedi. You will get there soon. Eyes off your phone and instead on the road. #JediDriver.”

On Twitter, Storm Spotter told the Colorado, Utah, and Iowa Departments of Transportation that Arizona’s Department of Transportation also “got the force going”  Monday. Storm Spotter, tweeting as @lyon1emporia, then posted a photo of a highway traffic sign referring to the movie, saying:

AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

IS THE PATH TO

THE DARK SIDE

No Laughing Matter

This is not the first time CDOT has peppered its signs with humor, Sylte wrote. In a previous campaign, the department urged drivers to “Get your head out of your app.” In a comment to the 9News article, Jeremy Hymes-Balsley (“Chief Shoushimeister at Gouki”) wrote: “The common sense is strong with these people.”

As CDOT points out on its distracted driving facts page, the results of distracted driving are no laughing matter. In 2013, an estimated 24.4% of the crashes involving 203,827 people in Colorado were attributed to distracted driving. There was a 9% increase in distracted driving in the state between 2008 and 2013. According to Colorado law, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers; and texting and/or talking on the phone while driving is illegal for drivers under 18.

Image by Dale Jackson, used under its Creative Commons license.

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