MODESTO (CBS13) — Modesto motorists had to do a double-take as they drove past a digital traffic sign meant to warn them of road work.
Instead, it was hacked with a message of profanity aimed at President Trump.
"It was changed to Trump is an expletive, you know, "B" word," Modesto resident Kelly Glenn said.
Kelly Glenn lives near the sign that was changed to say "Trump is a b----."
"Oh man, I thought it was pretty crazy," Glenn said.
He watched as distracted motorists passing by narrowly avoided accidents.
"Someone looked like they came to a dead stop like they were trying to get a picture maybe or something, and then there was another car coming up behind them," Glenn said.
The Stanislaus County message sign was set up on Carpenter Road last week to alert drivers to upcoming construction.
The hacker switched the message sometime over the weekend
"Well, you know, I think the message could have been seen as light-hearted," Stanislaus County Public Works Director Matt Machado said. "But it's really pretty serious."
Machado said in his 10 years on the job, this was a first.
"We have typos from time to time, contractors will type in a word wrong, but you can see the intent is there, just a misspelling," Machado said.
Machado says there are already 2,000 car accidents on county roads a year and 30 fatalities.
This prank exposes how easily hacked road signs meant to increase safety, can lead to more danger.
"Absolutely, that's a concern, and so we'll be chatting with our contractor to have better protective measures in place, because if bolt cutters will get you in that's not good enough," Machado said.
Possible solutions including building piping around the locks that keep the message keyboards secure.
"I had no idea that someone could even do that," Glenn said.
A message with a bad word in bright lights. The prank, raising the risks of hackers on roadway safety.
The message board is expected to be back up Wednesday with the proper alert of upcoming construction on Carpenter Road.
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