Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

If you are a local official, you better start reading the new 800-plus page Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (the MUTCD for those who are short on time). This new tangle of federal regulations—written under the Bush Administration—is about to have a major impact on state and local budgets.

Among the new requirements:

  • Writing on street signs in 25 mph + zones must be 6 inches tall by January 2012.
  • New reflective letters need to be in use by January 2016.
  • All new signs can no longer be in ALL CAPS (even when the sign has a very emphatic message). 

ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports:

In Milwaukee this will cost the cash-strapped city nearly $2 million—double the city’s entire annual for traffic control.

The public comment period has now passed, but the Federal Highway Administration is expcted to announce today that a new period of public comment will open soon. 

Who is in favor of these rules? Why the American Traffic Safety Services Association, of course. No; they aren’t an association of concerned drivers. They represent the companies who make the signs.