UNJUSTIFIED STOP SIGNS
Stop signs are the most widely used and misused of all traffic signs. Stop signs installed incorrectly usually create more problems than they solve. Many requests are received for stop signs to interrupt traffic or to slow speeding vehicles. However, studies across the country show that there are a high number of intentional violations when stop signs are installed as nuisances or "speedbreakers."
Studies show that speed is reduced in the immediate vicinity of nuisance stop signs, however, speeds are higher between intersections than before the signs were installed. This is caused by motorists making up for lost time. Nuisance stop signs also increase air pollution, waste fuel, and create more traffic noise.
EFFECTIVE USE OF STOP SIGNS
Under the correct conditions, stop signs can play an important role in traffic safety. National standards have been established to determine when stop signs should be installed. These standards consider traffic speed, the number of vehicles, sight distance, and the frequency of gaps in traffic to allow safe vehicle entry or pedestrian crossing.
For safety purposes, when stop signs are used, they should stop vehicles on the street with less traffic. Four-way stops are helpful only when traffic is high and approximately equal on all four approaches. At least 500 cars per hour, for a substantial portion of the day, are needed to make fourway stops beneficial.
Most drivers are reasonable and prudent. When confronted with unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions, motorists are more likely to violate them, and they usually develop contempt for all traffic signs, often with tragic results.