Resources and Q&A

As a property or facility manager, it is important to understand traffic signage requirements and how they affect safety and liability on your property.

At StopSignStore.com, we have made it our business for 35 years to know the details. To make your job easier, we’ve provided answers to common questions and links to additional resources. This quick-reference guide highlights your need-to-know information, putting the most pertinent details at your fingertips.

Traffic Sign Regulation

  • What is the MUTCD?
  • Does the MUTCD apply to private property?
  • Can my facility be liable if our signs do not meet MUTCD requirements?
  • Do states have additional requirements to follow for traffic control signs?
  • Do all the signs offered by StopSignStore.com meet MUTCD requirements?

Common Usage and Installation Questions

  • What is the difference between reflectivity grades (Engineering, High Intensity and Diamond grade)? In what situations should different grades be used?
  • Why should I purchase a higher reflectivity grade sign than the minimum required?          
  • When are Fluorescent Yellow Green (FYG) background color signs required?
  • Can street signs be printed in all upper case letters?
  • What are the location and height requirements for traffic signage installation?
  • Can multiple signs be installed on the same post?

 

General FAQs

 

  • What materials does StopSignStore.com use to produce its signage products?
  • What do I do if I am tax exempt?

StopSignStore.com provides this information for the convenience of our customers. While we hope our customers find this information helpful, it is the individual customer’s responsibility to ensure all signage on your property complies with all federal and state regulations. StopSignStore.com assumes no liability for injury or damage incurred at a facility using our products.

 

Traffic Sign Regulation

 

What is the MUTCD?

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), a document created and maintained by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), sets the national standard governing all traffic control devices. Compliance with the MUTCD ensures uniformity of messages, reducing accidents and congestion on the roadways.

Does the MUTCD apply to private property?

Yes. According to the FHWA Overview page:

“The MUTCD audience includes, but is not limited to: State and local highway agencies, public officials, owners of private roads open to public travel, the insurance industry, law enforcement agencies, incident management personnel, maintenance personnel, academic institutions, private industry, and planning, construction and engineering organizations.” (emphasis added)

“Roads open to public travel” is defined in the MUTCD as including, “roads within shopping centers, parking lots, airports, sports arenas, and other similar business and recreation facilities that are privately owned but where the public is allowed to travel without access restrictions.” MUTCD Frequently Asked Questions

Can my facility be liable if our signs do not meet MUTCD requirements?

Yes. Incorrect size or type of signage, improperly installed signage or lack of proper signage can be cause for legal action if an accident occurs.  Do not leave your business unnecessarily open to liability. Safeguard your business by installing MUTCD-compliant signs.

From the MUTCD FAQ Page: “…tort liability in lawsuits is another possible penalty for non-compliance, especially in situations where a crash has occurred that might be attributed to inadequate, inappropriate, or noncompliant traffic control devices.”

Do states have additional requirements to follow for traffic control signs?

While the MUTCD is the national standard for traffic control devices, state transportation agencies differ in how they comply with MUTCD standards. States may adopt the MUTCD as their standard, adopt it along with supplemental requirements, or use the MUTCD as a model to develop their own state manuals.

For a complete guide to requirements by state, visit MUTDs & Traffic Control Devices Information by State.

Do all the signs offered by StopSignStore.com meet MUTCD requirements?

Yes, all StopSignStore.com signs are MUTCD compliant, unless specifically noted. It remains the customer’s responsibility, however, to ensure all state regulations are met. The customer is also responsible to ensure adherence to all MUTCD installation requirements (MUTCD Section 2A.16).

 

Common Usage and Installation Questions

 

What is the difference between reflectivity grades (Engineering, High Intensity and Diamond grade)? In what situations should different grades be used?

Traffic signs can be produced with varying degrees of reflectivity. The more reflective the sign, the better the daytime and nighttime visibility. Generally, the industry offers three reflectivity grades:

  • Engineer grade (reflective)
  • High Intensity grade(more reflective)
  • Diamond grade (most reflective)

Understanding which reflectivity grade is acceptable can be confusing. Per information provided to us directly from the FHWA Retroreflectivity Team Leader, Engineering Grade is acceptable on all traffic signs EXCEPT:

  • Signs that are yellow or orange
  • Signs with a white legend on a green background

Why should I purchase a higher reflectivity grade sign than the minimum required?

Higher reflectivity grades provide two main benefits. Besides being more visible, higher grade reflectivity signs tend to be more durable and last longer than lower grade reflectivity signs. Generally, expected lifespan of signs using different reflectivity grades are as follows:

  • Engineer grade (reflective): Up to 5 years
  • High Intensity grade(more reflective): 10-12 years average
  • Diamond grade (most reflective): 12-15 years average

When are Fluorescent Yellow Green (FYG) background color signs required?

FYG background color is now required for school area traffic control signs (warning signs and plaques). It is optional for pedestrian and bicycle sign applications. (MUTCD Frequently Asked Questions)

Can street signs be printed in all upper case letters?

No, lettering for place names and destinations on all guide signs—including street name signs—should be in mixed case lettering: first letter in uppercase, remaining letters in lowercase. This provides improved recognition and legibility distances. Minimum letter heights for street name signs refer to the initial upper case letter. (MUTCD Section 2D.05, paragraph 2)

Both MUTCD compliant and novelty street name signs are available at StopSignStore.com. For roadway usage, please make sure you select the MUTCD compliant product line.

What are the location and height requirements for traffic signage installation?

MUTCD Section 2A.16 Standardization of Location provides guidelines and examples of acceptable locations for sign placement

MUTCD Section 2A.18 Mounting Height provides detailed information on the installation height requirements for traffic signs, including those on private property.

“The minimum height, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the top of the curb, or in the absence of curb, measured vertically from the bottom of the sign to the elevation of the near edge of the traveled way, of signs installed at the side of the road in business, commercial, or residential areas where parking or pedestrian movements are likely to occur, or where the view of the sign might be obstructed, shall be 7 feet.” (emphasis added)

Can multiple signs be installed on the same post?

Multiple signs may be on one post in the following cases:  

  • One sign supplements the other
  • Route or directional signs are grouped for clarity
  • Non-conflicting regulatory signs may be grouped together.
  • Street signs and stop signs may be grouped together.

In all other cases, signs should be individually installed on separate posts or mountings. MUTCD Section 2A.16, paragraph 5)

 

General FAQs

 

What materials does StopSignStore.com use to produce its signage products?

StopSignStore.com products are made from the same high quality materials used for our state and federal department of transportation customers. Signs are made with durable, rust-free .080 aluminum that withstands the elements and maximizes the product life cycle

What do I do if I am tax exempt?

If you are exempt from sales tax, check the Tax Exempt box in Step 2: Billing Details when you checkout. Then fax your tax exempt certificate to us at (630) 972-9680. We cannot remove the sales tax until we have a copy of your tax exempt certificate. Please give us a call if you have questions regarding this.

 

Resource Links

 

Below are some helpful links with more detailed information:

Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

MUTCDs & Traffic Control Devices Information by State

MUTCD Frequently Asked Questions

Sign Installation Guide