National studies show that using stop signs for speed control can create a number of undesirable results. These include:
Increased speed between signs. To make up for the time that drivers feel they lost because of stopping at an unwarranted stop sign, many increase their speed mid block leading to higher speeds than before the stop signs were installed.
Decreased compliance. Drivers inherently drive in a manner that they feel comfortable. Drivers will not come to a complete stop if there is not a perceived safety issue at an intersection. This leads to a large number of drivers “rolling through” the intersection at various speeds.
Increased vehicular accidents. Because of the decreased compliance at intersections with unwarranted stop signs, studies have shown that there may be an increase in the number of accidents. In particular, rear end accidents occur when one driver chooses to comply with the stop sign, and another is used to “rolling through” it.
Increased vehicle/pedestrian accidents. Most pedestrians expect vehicles to stop at a stop sign. Pedestrians may choose to enter the intersection directly in front of a vehicle that may not stop.
The city uses the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) to determine the need or appropriateness of stop signs at a particular intersection. Residents who feel that there is a need for a stop sign should call the Engineering Department. The department will review the situation, study the intersection, and based on the MMUTCD, decide whether warrants are met for the installation of stop signs.
Remember, driving is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous activity that people undertake. Driving involves rapid decision making, and distractions such as cell phones, radios, texting, lack of sleep, and the influence of drugs and alcohol diminish a human’s ability to make the correct decision and react in time. Because of this, at some time in the life of an intersection, there will be an accident. An accident alone does not warrant the installation a stop sign.