Officials in Minnesota are thinning out the herd of traffic-advisory signs:
The image of a leaping buck or the words “Deer crossing” on a yellow sign are so familiar on rural Minnesota roads that many drivers don’t even notice them. The same goes for “Slow, Children at Play” signs on city streets.
In Carver County, officials are removing them because, they say, there’s no evidence that they cause motorists to slow down, and could give parents a false sense of security.
“The signs that are out there need to be useful,” said Kate Miner, the county’s traffic engineer. “If we clutter our roadways with signs, it just kind of all becomes background noise after a while.”
And it’s not like you can get deer to cross where they’re supposed to, anyway.
MnDOT follows similar practices on state roads:
The reason, said MnDOT state signing engineer Heather Lott, is because there’s no evidence that they have reduced deer-vehicle crashes or caused drivers to slow down. The same is true for “Children at Play” signs, she said.
“Use of the signs in some areas would give the false impression that areas without signs do not have children and deer,” Lott said.
I can see that. If a deer takes out your car on a country road, two miles short of a deer-crossing sign, you’re probably going to think “How was I supposed to know there were deer here?”