NYC’s new traffic lights would like to remind you that you will die one day

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In an effort to remind everyone that the speed limit in New York City is thirty miles-per-hour, fer serious, the Department of Transportation is rolling out some snazzy new traffic signs as part of the "That's Why It's 30" campaign. And why is it thirty, Department of Transportation? Oh right: because of your mortality. You're going to die. Happy driving.

Basically, the new signs, which normally remind drivers that the limit is thirty, with a cheery pedestrian iconographic included, switches that little walking man to a walking skeleton when you're going above the speed limit. So, technically, the signs could be reminding drivers that they're a lapse of concentration and an awesome song on the radio away from becoming vehicular manslaughterers. But I prefer the idea that the DoT is taking a moment to confront us with the abyss. Here's Mayor Bloomberg with the city's motivation:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg compared the graphic imagery to the skull-and-crossbones labels printed on cigarette packs in other countries to warn smokers about lung cancer.

“The idea is to get people to realize that what they’re doing can kill them or kill somebody else,” the mayor said at a news conference on Thursday. “Unless you make it graphic, people don’t get the message.”

Ignoring for the moment the fact that anti-smoking ads which emphasize just how deadly smoking is often drive smokers to smoke because of stress, I'm just not sure that flashy graphics on road signs will help everyone focus on not plowing down a group of tourists. But this is why I take the subway — the only people who tell me I'm going to die there are the wacky evangelicals, and they're just so much more entertaining.