“Don’t Mess With Texas” is an anti-littering slogan. Printed on street signs, it successfully reduced litter by 72% a few years after it was introduced.

Don’t Mess with Texas

This article is about the slogan used by the Texas Department of Transportation. For the 2015 film that used the slogan as a working title, see Hot Pursuit (2015 film).

Sign used on Texas highways.

Don’t Mess with Texas is a slogan for a campaign aimed at reducing littering on Texas roadways by the Texas Department of Transportation. The phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas” is prominently shown on road signs on major highways, television, radio and in print advertisements. The campaign is credited with reducing litter on Texas highways roughly 72% between 1987 and 1990. The campaign’s target market was 18- to 35-year-old males, which was statistically shown to be the most likely to litter. While the slogan was not originally intended to b… Continue Reading (6 minute read)

11 thoughts on ““Don’t Mess With Texas” is an anti-littering slogan. Printed on street signs, it successfully reduced litter by 72% a few years after it was introduced.”

  1. kweenbumblebee

    In Australia our slogan is “Don’t be a Tosser”

  2. wrongseeds

    Stevie Ray Vaughan did a pretty cool PSA when they rolled this out.

  3. alesaurex1

    I live in Texas.. and I can confirm this is legit. I’ve reported my fair share of people littering. Like a lot.

  4. estacks

    “Welcome To Texas”, “Speed Limit 75 MPH”, and “Don’t Mess With Texas”. Those are the signs, in order, I saw the first time I drove into Texas.

    And I liked them. And I still live here today. And I definitely don’t want to mess with 75 MPH freedom ways.

  5. Tacoshortage

    I spent a lot of time on Texas roadways before during and after the implementation of this ad campaign and it was awesome. The litter visibly reduced after they started it and it raised awareness immensely.

  6. megagood

    It is a great piece of psychological jujitsu – get the fat dude in a pickup who thinks it is cool to not care about littering to instead think that littering is insulting his tribe.

    We need the same thing with wearing masks. Somehow convince the guy who thinks wearing a mask is wimpy to instead think that the person who is not wearing a mask is attacking him.

    Which they are.

  7. Concerned_Lemon

    I just imagined some city slicker from out of state littering in Texas. Then a red pick up truck driving by as the driver yells “DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS”, then the driver spits out some tobacco and shoots the city slicker with a shotgun

  8. markiemark112

    I know there are some people from Texas that will say it helps but I’ve lived here since I was 10 (28 now) and I see litter everywhere and people do it so casually. I’ve seen people litter next to police who do nothing. This slogan may have worked at some point but it’s definitely far from what it use to be.

  9. Fondren_Richmond

    Yeah, we had “Les Litter” come to our school and sing a song to the tune of Elvira, same school year as the Sesquicentennial.

  10. Cincinnatus32

    Wish they knew this in my part of San Antonio. So much trash on the streets.

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