"Safety is this Department's top priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "These new and updated standards will help make our nation's roads and bridges safer for drivers, construction workers and pedestrians alike."
The manual is meant to create uniformity of traffic control devices across the nation, in order to reduce crashes and traffic congestion. The newest edition features many new and updated requirements, ranging from changes in highway signs and bike lanes to the color of high-visibility garments worn by road workers. While most changes were developed through research, seven changes come from recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board, the largest number of NTSB recommendations adopted by the MUTCD at one time.
Some of the new provisions include:
* Replacing highway signs with brighter, larger and more legible ones that are easier to understand at freeway speeds. States will begin using the newer signs as existing ones wear out.
* Adding different lane markings for lanes that do not continue beyond an intersection or interchange to give drivers more warning that they need to move out of the lane if they don't intend to turn.
* Expanding the use of flashing yellow arrow signals at some intersections to give a clearer indication that drivers can turn left after yielding to any opposing traffic.
* Changing the formula used to calculate crosswalk times to give walkers more time.
* Identifying electronic toll collection lanes with purple signs.
* Adding overhead lane-use control signs to reduce confusion among drivers in unfamiliar multi-lane roadways.
For an overview of the new rules and recommendations, visit mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.