Interwest Safety Supply, LLC

What Is MUTCD, And Why Does It Matter?

In recent years, cities and towns have expanded to meet the changing population and commuting needs. As a result, there is a demand for extensive infrastructure building programs and maintenance of existing roads. Whether you’re commuting to work, going to the supermarket, transporting goods, or visiting an attraction, it is essential to know exactly where you are permitted to drive and park. To keep drivers, workers, and the general public safe, it’s crucial to have adequate safety protocols in place. Traffic control devices play a pivotal role in keeping everyone safe and ensuring that traffic flows smoothly. And, that is where the MUTCD comes in. Read on to learn more about this crucial nation-wide standard and why it is essential for construction and commercial businesses.

What Is MUTCD ?

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Street and Highways (MUTCD) is published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The manual establishes clear guidelines for road managers on installing and maintaining traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads across the United States.

The latest edition of the manual was published in 2009 and then republished with Revision Numbers 1 and 2 incorporated in 2012. It was first published in 1971 as a way to produce uniform standards for traffic control devices across every state. As the number of vehicles on the road increased in both personal and business traffic, it was vital to have a system that kept everyone safe.

The MUTCD manual sets out uniform standards for traffic control devices, including:

  • Messages
  • Locations
  • Sizes
  • Shapes
  • Colors

The main objective of the MUTCD is to reduce the number of road traffic accidents, congestion, and the overall flow of traffic in and around urban areas. These standards have helped businesses and government agencies improve the safety of roads across the country.

A wide range of traffic control signs and equipment is covered by the MUTCD manual, including:

  • Signs
  • Road Markings
  • Highway Traffic Signals
  • Traffic Control Devices on Low-Volume Roads
  • Temporary Traffic Controls
  • Traffic Controls for School Areas
  • Traffic Control for Railroad and Light Rail Transit Grade Crossings
  • Traffic Control for Bicycle Facilities

It is also an adaptive policy that can change as innovations and technologies are introduced to roads and urban areas, such as intelligent traffic control systems.

Does The MUTCD Apply To All States?

Every state has some form of the national MUTCD in place.

Seventeen states have adopted the national MUTCD, while more than 20 states have adopted the national MUTCD and a state supplement. Around ten states, including California and Texas, have developed their own state MUTCD. It is important to note that state MUTCDs have to comply with the vast majority of the standards set out in the national MUTCD.

When any new revisions or amendments are made to the national MUTCD, the states have two years to adopt them. The same rules apply to the states that have their own MUTCDs or state supplements.

Why Is It Important To Your Business?

Having a standardized signage and equipment system makes it easier and safer for road users to navigate around the country. If there were different systems in every state, it could potentially result in confusion, creating accidents, injuries, and delays in the transport of goods.

In short, having a uniform system eliminates some of this confusion, which in turn minimizes any potential liability in the event of traffic accidents.

When agencies or businesses plan to add new signs or traffic control systems, they should ensure that they meet the MUTCD standards before installation. Failure to comply with the MUTCD can expose your business to significant legal liabilities.

The MUTCD applies to a wide range of businesses, including:

  • Supermarkets and Shopping Malls
  • Theme Parks
  • Airports
  • Hotels
  • Construction and Engineering Companies
  • Power Plants
  • Places of Worship – Church Buildings, Temples, etc.
  • Education Institutions – Schools, Universities
  • Sports Arenas

Any business that has road access should comply with the MUTCD regulations to ensure the safety of everyone using the road. Law enforcement agencies across the country use the MUTCD to determine road safety laws and identify dangerous driving, while insurance and legal companies will utilize the MUTCD when accidents occur.

If you are developing new traffic control devices or are planning to use innovations, you should check to see if the technology you’re using is compliant with the MUTCD. The installation and use of non-compliant traffic control equipment can expose your business to unnecessary legal liability in the event of an accident.

Learn More About MUTCD & Traffic Safety

If you would like to learn more about our MUTCD compliant traffic safety equipment and signs, reach out to us today or start browsing our traffic control products.

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