When used under the
right circumstances, the stop sign is one of our most valuable and effective
traffic control devices. It is intended to help drivers and
pedestrians determine who has the right-of-way at intersections.
Stop signs are often misused to arbitrarily interrupt traffic, which often
causes drivers to use alternate routes. In these areas where stop signs are
used as "nuisances" or "speed breakers," there are typically high incidences of
intentional violations. Drivers also tend to speed between intersections where
stop signs are continuously placed. For these reasons, the stop sign should
not be used as a speed-control device.
A school crossing
may appear dangerous for children to use, causing parents to demand that a stop
sign be placed in the location. This scenario may cause as many problems as it
solves. With the addition of stop control, a vehicle that had been a problem
for three seconds while approaching and passing the intersection is a problem
for a longer period.
A situation of indecision is created as
the pedestrian doesn't know when to cross and the motorist doesn't know when to
start. Normal gaps in traffic, through which crossings could be made safely,
no longer exist. An intersection, which was not previously busy, now operates
like a major intersection even though it really isn't. Studies have shown that
the addition of stop signs at such an intersection does not improve safety for
Most drivers do not intend to maliciously
violate traffic regulations; however, the imposition of an unreasonable
restriction may result in flagrant violations. In such cases, the stop sign
can create a false sense of security for a pedestrian and an attitude of
contempt for a motorist. These attitudes often conflict with tragic
nationally-recognized guidelines help to indicate when stop control is
necessary. These guidelines take into consideration, among other
- The probability of vehicles arriving at an
intersection at the same time.
- The length of time traffic must wait to
- The availability of safe crossing opportunities.
POLICY ON STOP SIGN INSTALLATIONS
installs stop signs based on criteria defined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices. Traffic on state highways, arterial and major collectors will
only be stopped by traffic signals.
Two-way and one-way stop
signs are primarily installed to safely assign right-of-way. Other
considerations are drainage dips, sight distance restrictions, school
pedestrian crosswalk locations and accident history.
signs are not installed to control speeds. These stops may be installed on
collector street intersections and on intersections of collector and local
streets depending on volumes, sight distance, accident history, school
crosswalks and pedestrian usage.