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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20590
June 13, 2007
In Reply Refer To: HOTO-1
Brian M. Guthrie, RA AIA
Public Works Department
NSF Dahlgren, Building 182, Room 127-A
18329 Thompson Road
Dahlgren, VA 22448-5110
Dear Mr. Guthrie:
Thank you for your May 21 letter requesting an interpretation as to the placement of a "FASTEN SEAT BELT" sign beneath a STOP sign at the exit of a parking lot on a military base in Virginia.
It is the official interpretation of the Federal Highway Administration that the only permissible plaques which may be posted below a STOP sign are the following: 4-WAY (R1-3), ALL-WAY (R1-4), CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP (W4-4), and the Divided Highway Crossing (R6-3 and R6-3a) signs.
The reason why the suggested "FASTEN SEAT BELT" sign is not appropriate for placement beneath a STOP sign is based on several provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD provides national standards for the design, application, and placement of signs and other traffic control devices. It is available for viewing online at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.
This suggested sign is similar to safety messages addressed in MUTCD Section 2A.07 such as "Click It or Ticket" or "Don't Drink and Drive." Although static and changeable safety messages may be installed, they are not as critical to the road user as regulatory messages such as the STOP sign. The MUTCD Section 2A.16 covers the location of signs and the order of priority of signs for installation purposes. The order of priority for installation of signs is regulatory, warning, and then guidance. The location for the placement of safety messages must not detract from the critical nature of regulatory, warning, or guide signs. Safety messages cannot be placed on the same sign post as regulatory, warning, or guide signs. Signs requiring different decisions by the road user should be installed on separate posts and must be spaced sufficiently far apart for the required decision to be made reasonably safe.
We appreciate the opportunity to provide this interpretation to you. For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned the following official ruling number to your request: "2-621(Intr.) - Fasten Seat Belt Sign Located Beneath a STOP Sign." If you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact Mr. Fred Ranck of my staff at 708-283-3545.
/s/ Anthony T. Furst
Anthony T. Furst
Acting Director, Office of Transportation Operations
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration