Can Stop Signs Be Installed to Control Speeding?

Stop signs installed in the wrong places for the wrong purposes almost always create more problems than they solve. At the right place and under the right conditions, a stop sign tells the motorists and the pedestrians who has the right of way. Federal rules and regulation - The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) – have established the standards used to determine when a stop sign should be used. These nationally recognized standards, or "Warrants," take into consideration, among other things, traffic speeds and volumes; sight distance, and the frequency of traffic gaps, which will allow safe motorist entry or pedestrian crossings.

Many people request stop signs to be installed for the purpose of lowering speeds. However, the true purpose of a stop sign is solely to assign right-of-way at an intersection.  Various research studies indicate that stop signs do not reduce the overall speed of traffic.   As such, when stop signs are installed strictly for the purpose of slowing traffic, the speeds are reduced in the vicinity of the stop sign, but tend to be higher between the intersections. Also, the overuse of stop signs may cause general contempt for all traffic control devices, often with tragic consequences. 

The best way to keep motorist compliance high at stop signs, and to avoid the liability associated with the incorrect installation of stop signs, is to use the nationally accepted standards to determine when stop signs are to be installed.