Did you know that an "aging population" is taking over the U. S. roadways? Check out these statistics:
- A person 65 years-old needs 4X the amount of light to see at night compared to a 25 year-old.
- By 2025, The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety projects that 1 out of 4 drivers will be 65 or older.
- The larger the sign, and increased retroreflectivity, allows for quicker decision-making for older drivers and faster response times by emergency personnel, allowing them to more easily read and understand signs thus reducing travel times to emergency situations.
- More than 50 percent of traffic accidents resulting in fatalities occur at night. Increased retroreflectivity helps to address this issue.
There are no requirements to replace “perfectly good signs” with new signs because of the mixed case standard. The requirements for mixed case letters in street signs generally apply when signs are replaced because of normal wear and tear. Thus, there is no added cost associated with this requirement.
Many media reports are factually incorrect when they state that signs must be replaced by January 2012. The only requirement for this date is that roadway owners have a sign management plan in place.
In 2000, the MUTCD established recommendations for minimum letter heights on street name signs. The MUTCD recommends 6” initial letter height for roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less with an option of 4” initial letter height for streets with speed limit 25 mph or less. Agencies need to evaluate and decide by January 2012 whether or not to use the recommended letter height or use an engineering study or engineering judgment to decide that a smaller letter height is acceptable.
In 2003, the MUTCD added a recommendation for letter heights of street name signs on multilane roads with speed limits greater than 40 mph. The MUTCD recommends 8” initial letter heights for post mounted and 12” letter height for overhead street name signs. Agencies need to evaluate and decide by December 2018 whether or not to use the recommended letter height or use an engineering study or engineering judgment to decide that a smaller letter height is acceptable.