In his WSDOT blog, Overton wrote that the routes were targeted because of several fatalities. About 17% of the fatalities were related to distracted driving, 7% were right-of-way or unsafe passing incidents, while 7% was due to drivers sleeping behind the wheel.
In previous years, the electronic signs have been used for AmberAlerts or traffic accident notices.
"It's no more than a speed limit sign or other warning signs along the highway and it gets people talking," Overton told KREM-TV.
Still, holiday signs to remind motorists of safe driving are getting their share of attention. Police in Freetown, Massachusetts, posted a sign that used rewritten lyrics to the Christmas classic, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
In Spokane, the WSDOT's most popular message references the 1983 cult film, "A Christmas Story," tweaking a memorable phrase from the movie: "Ralphie, put down phone, you'll txt your eye out!"
"By using more creative and relatable messaging we are reaching a larger audience and able to cut through the white noise of typical messaging and get people talking about it," Overton wrote in the WSDOT blog. "We also try to keep the number of days they are up limited to keep them fresh and noticeable."
The signs will maintain their holiday theme through Jan. 2, Overton said.
Until then, “Santa is watching, put down the phone.”