New MUTCD Law Changes Are Coming- Are You Prepared?

Thu, 2011-02-03

If the organization you work for offers access via a public property, whether it’s a church, parking lot or corporate building, the recent changes to MUTCD will eventually apply to you. 

There are several changes that took place in 2009 that might be enforced starting in January 2012. This installment includes some of the overarching changes to the language and definitions of the 2009 version of MUTCD.

In the next installment, we will discuss the minimum retroreflectivity standards for traffic signs in detail.

MUTCD Defined


Created and maintained by the Federal Highway Administration, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), provides direction and sets minimum standards nationally for traffic signs and other traffic control devices.  MUTCD ensures that the laws and requirements are consistent from state to state nationwide. 

Application of MUTCD


The 2009 revision of MUTCD states that any and all private roads that are open to public travel, even if they are owned privately, are required to comply with the newly revised standards.

This includes roads within shopping centers, airports, sports arenas, theme parks and any roadways and any business or recreation facility that allows public access without restrictions. The only exceptions are parking lots, driving aisles, and private grade crossings.



All new MUTCD traffic signs (and any other traffic devices) must comply with the new laws set in 2009.  Older signs must be updated as they wear out, or for their remaining service life unless listed otherwise.

Re-Definition of Standard

The main change in this definition states that any ‘standard statement’ cannot be modified or compromised based on engineering judgment or engineering studies.