Messages Altered on Electronic Road Signs in Dallas To Tell Drivers: ‘Donald Trump Is A Shape-Shifting Lizard!!’
During the Memorial Day weekend, the messages on three electronic road signs in Dallas were tampered to deliver a vaguely political message to drivers. The “Trump” sign greeted drivers headed west on Interstate 30, as they approached the Cockrell Hill Road exit.
The portable signs, which typically display messages like “Exit Closed” or “Lanes Shift Ahead” to direct motorists about construction or other temporary changes to the flow of traffic, read “Bernie for President” and “Donald Trump Is a Shape-Shifting Lizard” during the morning commute Tuesday.
On I-30 in Dallas..
"Donald Trump is a shaping shifting lizard!" pic.twitter.com/MqVFjVxJvK
— Chad Potts (@Chad_Potts) May 31, 2016
Texas officials told that “they thought the signs were turned off and locked before the holiday weekend,” but apparently that was not the case. Workers with TxDOT began turning the signs off shortly before 6 a.m.
Another sign said: “Work is canceled. Go back home.”
During the course of the Memorial Day weekend, the electronic sign was changed twice first to “Party Hardy Yall” and later to the message about Trump.
“It has been removed,” a Texas DOT spokesman told the local CBS affiliate after the first message was posted. “And the contractor has taken steps to secure the sign.”
According to TxDOT spokesman Ryan LaFontaine, who is concerned about the hacker’s “boldness,” the signs cannot be altered remotely and must be changed manually at the control panels.
“You have to actually be there,” he said. “Power it up and get in there and break the password.”
Similar situations have been reported across the country, with those responsible gaining access to the electronic sign’s control panel and changing the message it displays.
“Any sort of tampering with that sort of stuff is a third-degree felony and it’s punishable. We’re talking prison time,” LaFontaine said. “It’s not something that’s taken lightly be any means.”
The TxDOT spokesman told NBC, “Due to safety concerns, we strongly discourage people from stopping in work zones to create situations such as this.”