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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Do It Yourself Road Signs Can Create A Safety Hazard


I ran across this blog post from a fellow InjuryBoard member wherein he describes the town of Cranston, Rhode Island, that audited their 1,903 stop signs and discovered there were actually 2,595. The blog author, Mike Bryant, asked several questions that are quite thought provoking, including:

– Why exactly did someone put up their own sign?

- Where did the signs come from?

- Were sign violations at those signs actually against the law?

Some additional questions that came to my mind were: “Who is responsible for ensuring that the signs are installed correctly?” and “Who is responsible if the sign does not meet crashworthiness requirements?“

Yes, I did say crashworthiness requirements when referring to a road sign. Most of us have heard of crashworthiness when talking about automobiles and trucks, but we rarely consider that road signs must have built-in crashworthiness to protect drivers and occupants should their vehicle hit one of these signs. Indeed, road signs are designed to break in an accident to prevent or minimize injuries.

The Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways requires that sign posts be crashworthy — so that sign posts do not cause an increased risk of injury or harm in the event of an auto accident.

Section 2A.19: Post-mounted sign and object marker supports shall be crashworthy (breakway, yielding, or shielded with a longitudinal barrier or crash cusion) if within the clear zone.

Break Away Sign Post Example
Example: Breakaway Sign Post

Since it is illegal, I hope the citizens of Cranston refrain from putting up additional signs, but if they do I hope they at least do it safely.

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison


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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very good informaiton, thanks for reading and adding to my blog. The whole Cranston thing is very troubling.

  2. Truckie D says:
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    Interesting. I wonder if the extras were from people putting up their own, or just poor recordkeeping on the part of the town.