Fake Stop Signs Don’t Reduce Potential for Increased Driver Safety

May 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

May 29, 2012 — While every driver on the road has at some point run a stop sign, or at the very least failed to come to a complete stop on each occasion, remaining cautious on the road is vital.  In almost all cases, stop signs, like the one above from, are placed deliberately so as to denote an intersection with significant auto traffic to retain the safety of the driver.  Ignoring them, as one motorist did on Memorial Day weekend, can have fatal consequences.  But what happens when a stop sign is fake?

Stop signs like this one help to promote driver safety when encountering high-volume intersections. 

In November of 2010, it was discovered that roughly a quarter of Cranston, Rhode Island’s stop signs were placed illegally – that’s 692 illegal stop signs in one small town.  The overflow of unregulated signage received national attention, and despite investigatory analysis regarding the placement of these signs, the reason behind their existence remains unclear.  Some suggest that residents placed them on suburban streets to reduce traffic speeds in their respective neighborhoods; others attest that former mayors placed the signs without the guided permission of the City Council in order to win residential favor.  While the origin of the signage is unclear, Cranston officials remain dubious as to how to regulate this immense proliferation of stop signs.  Unknowing police officers assigned traffic citations to disobeying motorists, and with the illegitimacy of the signs, drivers are expecting to be reimbursed and legally compensated.  Now it is up to the City Council to decide which stop signs should remain and which should be removed – the 692 stop signs would have to be approved on an individual basis, with citations issued at illegitimate stop signs within the last year being reimbursed by the state.  Tickets previously issued must be taken up with the State Supreme Court, though the necessary legal expenses would prove more costly than the fine itself.

Despite this peculiarity, motorists should always assume that all stop signs are legitimate and respect any and all traffic regulations.  While Cranston’s stop signs are dubious, the vast majority of these signs are placed very deliberately so as to keep motorists hazard-free and alert.  Nevertheless, while coming to a complete stop on a relatively empty Rhode Island road, it is completely within your liberty to question the legitimacy of the rogue stop sign in front of you.  As long as you stop for it.

– S. Walsh

Category: News

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