A stop sign is one of our most valuable and effective traffic control devices when used at the right place and under the right conditions. It is intended to help drivers and pedestrians negotiate an intersection by assigning the right-of-way.
Most drivers are reasonable and prudent in following posted traffic regulations; however, when an unreasonable restriction is imposed by placement of an unwarranted stop sign, it may result in flagrant violations. In such cases, the stop sign can create a false sense of security to a pedestrian and an attitude of contempt by a motorist. These two attitudes can and often do conflict with tragic results.
Where stop signs are installed for speed control, there is a high incidence of intentional violation. In those locations where vehicles do stop, the speed reduction is effective only in the immediate vicinity of the stop sign, and frequently speeds are actually higher between intersections. For these reasons, a stop sign should not be used as a speed control device.
Well-developed, nationally recognized guidelines help to indicate when such controls become necessary. These guidelines take into consideration the volume of traffic, sight distance, accident history, and the frequency of other existing stop controls.