Many people think multi-colored crosswalks are cute. The Federal Highways Administration [FHWA] on the other hand, thinks that colorful pavement markings can obscure or perhaps distract from other essential safety markings.
Some will say this is over-officious but it is easy to argue that the FHWA has a very important viewpoint on this topic. After all, where does it end? What other causes might end up with some new color scheme causing potential confusion at one of the deadliest places in America… its roads!
You might think I’m exaggerating, but…
So is this really an important issue?
Well, there is a huge book and associated website out there, called ‘The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices’ [MUTCD] and its role is to enable all 50 states, plus DC to have exactly what it says in the title: traffic signs and pavement markings that are identical, all around the USA. And the need for this is self-evident — so that when anyone drives around the country they understand the messages being given to them by the signs and markings.
The issue can get even more serious when foreign visitors or new immigrants are driving and can’t possibly have a clue what aberrant signs might mean.
I’ve been lucky enough to drive and to instruct in most of the states, and while doing so I have photographed many signs and markings being badly used or even totally incorrect… and yet people’s lives can depend on this!
So, as nice an idea as it might seem, can we please keep happy variations of important signs and markings within check, before somebody really does get hurt or killed because of such issues?
Incidentally, the catalyst for this post was an article, Atlanta defends its rainbow crosswalks as symbols of pride. Federal highway officials say it impacts road safety.