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A Few Frequently Asked Questions About the MUTCD Signs

The average driver spends approximately 20 hours of every week driving and will travel upwards of 200 miles per week. Driving that much means you’re bound to see a few road signs on your commute, whether they provide traffic updates or are simply static directional signs.

All of those signs are regulated by the MUTCD, which is a manual published by the Federal Highway Administration. Even though this manual impacts our lives in so many ways, most drivers never even know it exists. Here are a few frequently asked questions about the MUTCD.

What does MUTCD stand for?
MUTCD stands for Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. This manual is published by the Federal Highway Administration, and it covers all design, application, and placement standards for traffic control devices in the United States. These signs and devices include variable message signs, lane control signs, blank out signs, and even pavement markings. All signs that follow MUTCD standards are also known as MUTCD signs.

Does the MUTCD apply to every road in America?
Yes, it does. The MUTCD is considered the national standard for all traffic signs, no matter the street they’re installed on. This includes residential streets, highways, and even bicycle trails. Any path open to public travel must adhere to these guidelines.

Who decides what traffic control devices are installed?
The Federal Highway Administration publishes the MUTCD, but individual state and local highway authorities are responsible for selecting and installing signage on their roadways.

How often are MUTCD standards updated?
The MUTCD is a fairly dynamic piece of literature, as it’s subject to change with new roads and new technology. MUTCD signs must still adhere to these standards as the document changes. The Federal Highway Administration releases an updated MUTCD approximately every five years. In addition, revisions are kept to the bare minimum in an effort to keep any major changes from affecting the roadways.

If you’re ever curious about the standards that traffic control devices must adhere to, the MUTCD is the document to pay attention to. Though it is subject to change minimally, it’s a crucial safety measure that helps ensure the security and maneuverability of U.S. roads. Don’t wait to learn about the laws regarding traffic control devices!

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