Does MUTCD Compliance Signify A Sign Is Legal In My State?

Does MUTCD Compliance Signify A Sign Is Legal In My State?

Posted by Jeffrey Dornbos on 14th Jul 2016


If you’re out on the roads, you want to know that they are as safe as can be. The purpose of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices ( MUTCD) is to ensure that all of the roads in the United States of America are as safe as possible. The MUTCD lays out all of the standards that must be met by all road markings, highway signs and traffic signals.

For over 80 years, the MUTCD has been working to improve our roadways and create an environment that allows for safer and more efficient travel. But how do we know that the signs on our roads are meant to be there and that they meet the MUTCD standards?

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

When you’re driving on the road and you notice a sign that is easy to read or a countdown timer on a crosswalk sign, you can look to the MUTCD. Published by the Federal Highway Administration since 1971, you can find the MUTCD under 23 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 655, Subpart F. The MUTCD is recognized as the national standard for all traffic control devices located on any street, highway or bike trail that is open for public travel.

Is MUTCD Compliance Different State By State?

Every state in the U.S. is responsible for making sure that their roadways are safe and meet MUTCD standards. For private roads that are open for public travel, the owner of the road is responsible. Each state has three options when it comes to meeting MUTCD standards. They can:

  1. Adopt the national MUTCD
  2. Adopt the national MUTCD with a state supplement that is in conformance with the new or revised national MUTCD
  3. Adopt a State MUTCD that is in conformance with the national MUTCD

In any case, the law says that all states are required to act within 2 years of a new national MUTCD edition being issued or if any national MUTCD amendments are made. The Federal Highway Administration has 52 division offices in the United States of America to ensure states are meeting MUTCD standards; however, they are not involved in the qualification criteria that each individual state uses to test for quality and durability of traffic control devices.

The latest MUTCD edition was published in 2009 and all of the adopted changes came into effect on January 15, 2010. The Federal Highway Administration MUTCD team offers informationfor each state in which you can see specific state policies and practices that they have adopted in regards to the MUTCD.

Dornbos Sign and Safety Inc. and MUTCD Compliant Signs

Dornbos Sign andSaftey, Inc. has been supplying MUTCD compliant signs for over 60 years. If you are looking to place an order for a road sign today, give us a call at 800-922-0029 or contact us via our online contact form. We are proud to be a part of the effort in making our roadways a safer place to be and we look forward to working with you.