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How School Road Signs Create Safer Streets

September 4, 2018

Different types of campuses use different types of school road signs. Studies by the National Institute of Health have shown that traffic signs help reduce accidents in school zones. National campaigns to promote public safety have also played a role in making school zones safer. Here’s evidence that school road signs have a positive impact:

Types of School Road Signs

  • Stop: Pedestrian Crossing
  • Slow School Zone
  • School Bus Stop Ahead
  • Student Crossing
  • Drug Free / Gun Free School Zone

Speed Limits

One important component of school zone safety is reducing speeding-related collisions. What makes schools unique from other institutions is their high volume of pedestrians, as many students walk or take the bus to school. Pedestrian safety is especially important for elementary and grade schools, as younger children may not have developed safe judgment around traffic. The faster a vehicle is moving, the more harm it will cause if it strikes a pedestrian.

Research shows that when a vehicle’s impact speed is 23 mph, there is a 10% chance of death if a pedestrian is hit — but an impact speed of 28 mph presents a 60% chance of fatality. The average speed limit in a school zone is between 15 and 25 mph, a range that is essential for public safety. School road signs help alert drivers to slow down and be alert for pedestrians.

In California, the speed limit in a school zone is a maximum of 25 mph, and drivers must reduce their speed to that level when they are within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school — even if no sign is posted. Out-of-state drivers may not be aware of local rules, such as speed restrictions or requirements to stop when a school bus flashes red lights. Adding school road signs helps remind and inform drivers of these local rules.

Improving School Zone Safety

Schools can improve safety with better use of traffic control devices, according to the Federal Highway Administration. U.S. guidelines for traffic control devices are published in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), including clear school zone markings that make drivers aware they should slow down.

Going above and beyond these requirements can improve safety further. Speed monitoring devices (SMDs) have reduced school zone traffic speed by 17%. Studies have shown that schools with chain-link fencing have average slower traffic speeds than those without. If your school doesn’t have a fence or SMDs, it may be beneficial to post additional school road signs that identify fines for violating speed limits in school zones.

Another way to improve school zone safety is to consider local needs, such as the climate of your region. Different areas feature different weather events that can disrupt traffic and cause damage. Any school located in an area where fog, snow, or heavy storms are common should consider posting additional school road signs to remind drivers about safety in these conditions. It is also important to be mindful of specific local traffic situations, such as blind intersections or one-way streets, when selecting school road signs that meet your needs.

No matter where a school zone is located, school officials are responsible for making the institution as safe as possible. For more information about school road signs and other signage, call Zumar at their Arizona, California or Washington locations.

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