Get it right: One fatality is TOO many

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Over the weekend, you may have noticed the Alabama Department of Transportation electronic billboards displaying thoughtful messages like &8220;Drive safely: Your family needs you.&8221;

Another message on the Shelby County ALDOT billboards read, &8220;One fatality is to many.&8221;

I realize I am a journalist and the folks at ALDOT are not, but I also realize that I learned the difference between &8220;to&8221; and &8220;too&8221; when I was in the second grade.

I&8217;m not trying to nitpick ALDOT, but those signs made us (citizens of Shelby County and the entire state) look like morons.

If you look closely, you&8217;ll probably find several grammatical errors in this edition of the newspaper, so nobody&8217;s perfect.

However, on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, when people from all over the nation are traveling our highways to get to the beach, one of the first things they saw were those signs.

And the signs remained that way the entire weekend.

I applaud ALDOT for actually using the signs, but I think we could use them in a more efficient way.

For a long time, the signs were blank with just a blinking curser.

In the past few years, the signs have helped me avoid routes undergoing construction, but the system still needs an overhauling.

ALDOT recently announced the system will use cell phone ping technology, like those in Atlanta, so commuters can have an accurate estimation of their travel time.

This is a great idea and it puts the signs to use in the way they were intended.

But if the state decides to place more slogans on the signs before this technology is available, let&8217;s come up with something better than what was up there this weekend.

Slogans like &8220;Hey, idiot: Get off your cell phone&8221; or &8220;Try putting the cheeseburger down and holding the steering wheel with two hands&8221; would be much more appropriate.

And please, use your spell checker.