N.J. police use road humor to encourage driver safety

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Motorists in Middlesex County, New Jersey, are getting quite a laugh from a sign posted by police concerning potholes there. (WPVI)

Motorists in Middlesex County, New Jersey, are getting quite a laugh from a sign posted by police concerning potholes there.

But authorities say while it may seem like a joke, the message is really quite serious.

After resurfacing what had been a bumpy, pothole-ridden section of Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro police wanted to warn people not to use it like a race track.

So instead of using radar or patrol cars, the traffic division set up a message board on the side of the road which reads, 'new road surface, speed limit still 25,' and it jokes that drivers should comply 'or we put the potholes back!' "

"You deliver an important message, but you have fun with the community at the same time," said Plainsboro Police Sgt. Joe Jankowski. "They're getting a smile out of it, they're getting a laugh and because of that they tell their friends and they start talking about it."

"It's something different and it's funny. People like humor, that attracts people's attention, so it definitely caught my attention," said Melissa Ortiz of Plainsboro.

Ortiz says she slowed down and put her phone down after passing the message board in town.

"They have one over here, it said, 'your car does go 25 miles per hour,' so it made me think," said Jim Bardachino of Plainsboro. "I think it works. I think it's a good thing."

The $15,000 message board is brand new to the police department. It's run on solar power, is easily moved and has been used nonstop since it was delivered several months ago.

So much of police work is serious business. Cops say the message board just seems like a good way to remind drivers about safety and have a little fun.

"We had another one on Scudders Mill Road in reference to texting and driving that said 'keep your head out of your apps, focus on the road.' " said Jankowski.

"The humor's good. We all need a laugh sometimes," said Danine Kyser of Plainsboro, adding she always drives the speed limit.

Police say the funny signs have gotten a huge response from the public, and officers are now compiling future messages with a twist or a play on words. They won't give them away, though, because they don't want to ruin the fun.

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