The Minnesota Depart­ment of Transportation wants motorists to notice stop signs and stop lights more to reduce crashes at intersections.

The Minnesota Depart­ment of Transportation wants motorists to notice stop signs and stop lights more to reduce crashes at intersections. The agency will apply reflective red metal strips on nearly 1,000 stop sign posts and fluorescent yellow tape at 101 traffic signal lights across the state this summer.

“We think these two low-cost ways to make stop signs and stop lights more visible will help reduce crashes at these higher risk intersections,” said Derek Leuer, traffic safety engineer.

The stop sign project will be implemented this summer on locally owned roads that intersect with two-lane, two-way state highways. The highways chosen are considered moderate and high risk crash corridors.

The reflective red strips will be installed on the stop sign post directly beneath the stop sign.

Rural intersection crashes are a serious issue in Minnesota, according to Leuer. From 2008 to 2012, there were 533 serious and fatal injury crashes at rural state highway intersections.

“This project aims to reduce those fatal and serious injury crashes in the state by making the stop signs more visible to motorists,” he said. “Fatal right-angle crashes often are the result of one or more drivers failing to comply with a stop sign.”

The traffic signal project includes installing florescent yellow tape around the rectangular back plate that contains the green, red and yellow traffic signal bulbs. Leuer said this is a proven Federal Highway Administration safety counter measure already used by other states.

“The reflective tape will make the signals look bigger and help motorists be more aware of them,” Leuer said. “This will be especially helpful at night and in low-visibility conditions.”

The florescent yellow tape will go on signals at intersections that are considered at higher risk for crashes and may have a record of past crashes.

Cost of both projects is about $500,000.

MnDOT will evaluate both projects for effectiveness.

“The installation of red reflective strips to stop sign posts and yellow fluorescent tape around signal lights may become another low-cost tool to help MnDOT improve roadway safety and move Minnesota toward zero deaths,” Leuer said.

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