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North Carolina traffic alert: Beware women drivers, Obamacare

Blaming a botched test to its alert system -- and well, an IT contractor who didn't follow protocol -- North Carolina's Department of Transportation truly frightens drivers.

Not quite. WTKR-TV Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's always useful when you local department of transportation keeps you in touch with problems on the road.

The more sophisticated states send e-mails and tweets, to prepare you for the unexpected.

There are few more sophisticated states than North Carolina. So local drivers were, perhaps, stunned to receive traffic alerts that were a touch unusual.

As WTKR-TV reports, the alerts seemed routine enough at first: "A High severity incident has been Added for I-40 Eastbound in Wake County in Raleigh."

But then came the details of the problem: "Vehicle Accident: Women Drivers, Rain, Obama Care."

You might imagine that this caused something of a stir.

So much so that the North Carolina Department of Transportation had to admit that this message -- and five others -- were erroneous.

They should have, in fact, read: "Accident: Duke basketball."

No, I don't have that quite right. They were, allegedly, mere test messages that should never have seen the headlights of day.

Some will be stunned to hear that the department also placed an IT contractor in the firing line. He apparently didn't follow protocol.

This may or may not include refraining from making jokes in public and even thinking that women driver jokes were ever funny at all.

The department's statement offered: "The individual violated procedures by failing to turn off the external feed while testing and for the inappropriate test message content. The contractor was let go immediately for this action."

There is no reason to believe that this IT contractor previously worked on the Obamacare Web site.

So remember, everyone, if you're driving in North Carolina and you get a text telling you that the debt ceiling has fallen on the I-40 Eastbound, it's probably best to ignore it.