Coronavirus News: NJ highway signs draw criticism, praise for referring to some as 'knuckleheads'

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Signs reading "Don't be a knucklehead, keep a safe distance" along New Jersey's highways drew both criticism and praise from drivers across the state.

Governor Phil Murphy has regularly used the term "knucklehead" to refer to people disregarding social distancing recommendations, stay at home orders and other restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Transportation posted the message on its digital signs along the state's highways alongside other messages including "practice social and vehicle distancing" and "flatten the curve - not your tire."

Governor Murphy shared a video of one of the "knucklehead" signs on Facebook Saturday.

The post drew criticism from State Senator Joe Pennacchio.

"I strongly condemn the flippant language the Governor has used in press conferences and on these signs," Pennacchio said in a statement. "It is disrespectful to the citizens of New Jersey who have - and will continue to - make hard sacrifices to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives. The sophomoric language is unbecoming of the Governor, and certainly not fair to the people of New Jersey. Webster defines a knucklehead as a 'stupid person.' Is that what you think of sacrificing New Jersey citizens? Really?"

In the comments of the Governor's post, opinions from New Jerseyans seemed to be split with some criticizing Governor Murphy for name-calling his constituents while others agreed with the Governor's sentiment and expressed frustration over people not following state guidelines.


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