Will more Stop Signs slow traffic on our streets?
STOP signs installed in wrong places ...
...usually create more problems than they solve.
Many requests are received for STOP signs to interrupt traffic or to slow speeding vehicles. However, studies in Arizona and across the country show that there is a high number of intentional violations when STOP signs are installed as nuisances or "speed breakers."
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.
Neighborhood streets with low traffic...
... tend to operate best under the State Right of Way law.
When an intersection has no STOP or YIELD signs, State Law (ARS 28-771) applies. It requires that when two vehicles enter a four-leg intersection from different streets at the same time, the driver on the left must yield right of way to the driver on the right. This requires drivers on all four approaches to slow down to reasonable speeds.
However, when STOP signs are installed on one street, drivers on the other street tend to increase speeds since they have the right of way. Drivers tend not to care, since they feel others need to yield to them.
Under the right 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 four-way 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.
Remember, STOP signs:
- DO NOT STOP SPEEDING
- INCREASE AIR POLLUTION
- INCREASE NOISE POLLUTION
- WASTE FUEL
A traffic safety message from the Phoenix Street Transportation Department. For more information, call: 602-262-6235 TDD 602-534-5500.