Traffic control manual updated

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Updated Jan 6, 2010

In an effort to improve safety on the nation’s roads and bridges, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a comprehensive update to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The manual, administered by the Federal Highway Administration since 1971, is the national standard for all traffic control devices, including traffic signs, pavement markings, signals and any other devices used to regulate, warn or guide traffic. Ensuring uniformity of traffic control devices across the nation – from their messages and placement to their sizes, shapes and colors – helps to reduce crashes and traffic congestion. This is the first comprehensive update to the manual since 2003.

“Safety is this department’s top priority,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says. “These new and updated standards will help make our nation’s roads and bridges safer for drivers, construction workers and pedestrians alike.”

The MUTCD’s 2009 edition features many new and updated requirements, including changes stemming from recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board. Among the other new provisions in the MUTCD:

•  Replacing highway signs with brighter, larger and more legible ones that are easier to understand at freeway speeds;

•  Adding different lane markings for lanes that do not continue beyond an intersection or interchange to give drivers more warning that they need to move out of the lane if they don’t intend to turn;

•  Expanding the use of flashing yellow arrow signals at some intersections to give a clearer indication that drivers can turn left after yielding to any opposing traffic;

•  Identifying electronic toll collection lanes with purple signs; and

•  Adding overhead lane-use control signs to reduce confusion among drivers in unfamiliar multilane roadways.

For an overview of the new rules and recommendations, go to