STOP signs formally notify drivers of a required stop that other stop sign drivers must make and yield the right of way to for intersecting traffic. Motorists facing a STOP sign are required to stop at the marked stop bar (or before entering a crosswalk or encroaching into an intersection, if a stop bar is not painted), then requires the driver to yield the right of way to any vehicle within the intersection or approaching it so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard. Drivers are also to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the intersection’s crosswalks.
STOP signs are not used simply to control the speed of vehicles. Research has shown that STOP signs are not as effective in reducing vehicle speeds as traffic calming measures and placing signs where they do not meet warrants can result in higher speeds between intersections.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices MUTCD dictates the size, shape and color of all traffic control devices for city, state and federal jurisdictions and has established guidelines that must be followed for placement of STOP signs. (These guidelines ensure continuity when driving from state to state.)
The City of Lakeland’s Traffic Operations (1) conducts an investigation of traffic conditions at an intersection and (2) performs a warrant analysis of the data to determine whether an installation of STOP signs is necessary based on the state guidelines established in the traffic manual.
Factors that are taken into consideration for the warrant analysis include, but are not limited to: