Failure to Replace Street Signs Could Impose a Higher Risk for Car Accidents in Winston-Salem, Nationwide

Winston-Salem car accident attorneys are concerned about recent changes made by the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding traffic sign replacement on North Carolina roadways. As part of an economic recovery for local and state governments throughout the country, traffic signs will no longer need to be replaced by certain deadlines, but rather by wear and tear on each individual sign.

What does this mean? It means that motorists will be more at risk of car accidents in North Carolina, South Carolina and throughout the country if state and local governments shift monetary resources used for road maintenance, construction and roadway safety in general by taking away and refueling their budgets in other areas. This also means that victims involved in car accidents might start having other at-fault parties to blame for causing the accident due to defective roads, hard-to-see traffic signs or critical safety warnings that are not placed properly.
Upon the advisement of the Obama Administration, the U.S Department of Transportation recently looked into areas where state budgets could be improved by cutting back on areas deemed overly exorbitant, pointless, excessively oppressive or out-of-date. Many state and local governments are operating in a deficit, so to cut or change burdensome regulations could not only save money on materials and other costly expenses, but also save money in labor costs which could add up to millions of dollars each year.

Up until now, communities have been required to replace traffic signs by a specific deadline, no matter what the condition of the sign is or how operable they are at the time of the deadline. One proposal to help cut spending is to no longer replace traffic signs automatically by the deadline but wait until they actually need to be replaced. In total, there are 46 deadlines authorized by regulations for traffic control and the proposed change would eliminate all of them.

In 1971, the Federal Highway Administration initiated the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) , which stipulates the 46 deadlines about to be removed. This manual federally regulates and sets national standards for road markings, traffic signals, street signs, and other traffic control devices.

The MUTCD manual is periodically updated with traffic control tools, traffic management procedures and safety technologies with the last revision being completed in 2009. FHWA recently submitted a notice to amend the document which will eliminate the traffic sign deadlines currently in place.

“Local and state transportation agencies are best-equipped to determine when they need to replace signs and other items in the course of their daily work,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez.

There are a series of deadlines that were due to be replaced by 2018 which include changing street name signs to larger lettering, changing the size of ‘One Way’ or ‘Pass With Care’ signs so that they are bigger and much more visible. These deadlines will no longer take effect.

Upgrade deadlines for traffic signs considered safety critical will still need to take place, according to the Department of Transportation. One of these deadlines includes placing ‘One Way’ signs at one-way streets or intersections of divided highways. Another deadline considered to be critical to public safety and will still need to be adhered to is placing ‘Yield’ or ‘Stop’ warning signs at railroad crossings that fail to provide flashing lights or automatic gates activated by an approaching train.

If you have a comment or concern regarding the recent changes and deadline omissions that you want heard by the FHWA, submit comments online at Federal Register.

The Lee Law Offices, P.A help car accident victims in North and South Carolina determine who is at fault and what course of action should be taken to get the compensation you deserve. If you have been seriously hurt in a car accident, call for a free consultation at 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Pedestrians, Bicyclists, Motorists at Risk of Intersection Accidents in Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 18, 2011.

Technology Features Aimed at Reducing North Carolina Car Accidents and Fatalities, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 6, 2011.

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