New MUTCD Law Changes Are Coming

Stonehouse Signs is summarizing the MUTCD standards changes, published in the 2009 Edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA.) The date for implementation and continued use of an assessment or management method that is designed to maintain traffic sign retroreflectivity at or above the established minimum levels is January 22, 2012.

Our six part series on these changes is:

  1. MUTCD Law Changes Part I: New MUTCD Law Changes Are Coming – Are You Prepared?
  2. MUTCD Law Changes Part II: Minimum Retroreflectivity Requirements
  3. MUTCD Law Changes Part III: Color Changes
  4. MUTCD Law Changes Part IV: Sign Heights and Lateral Locations for Sign Installations
  5. MUTCD Law Changes Part V: Changes In Sign Sizes & Lettering Heights
  6. MUTCD Law Changes Part VI: Important Compliance Dates

You can also purchase our MUTCD Signs online, Stonehouse Signs MUTCD Signs
or contact us for Custom Reflective Signs or Custom Traffic Signs.  


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

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.

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