1. CAN THE TOWN POST A
LOWER SPEED LIMIT ON MY STREET TO SLOW DOWN TRAFFIC?
The Police Department works closely with the community to educate drivers and
enforce speed laws in many areas of town. The police use a variety of
enforcement techniques including saturation patrol, and selective enforcement
by the patrol officers. Some believe speed limits reduce accidents and
increase safety. Actually, research studies show there is no direct
relationship between posted speed limits and the frequency of accidents. Appropriate speed limits establish a steady flow of traffic and
The Town of Thurmont
has posted speed limits that range from 25 to 40 miles per hour. These speeds
are based on Traffic Engineering Surveys that take into consideration the
roadway conditions, accident records, and the speed of drivers. The maximum
speed limit for any passenger vehicle is 65 miles per hour. All speed limits
below 65 are either set by the Maryland Vehicle Code (e.g. 25 miles per hour
in business and residential areas), or have been established through a
Traffic Engineering Survey. The speed limit is not always posted, but drivers
are required to know to drive at a safe speed; as defined by the Maryland
Vehicle Code. In Thurmont, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted.
The Town of Thurmont
must meet the standards of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to
alter speed limits within the Town.
- HOW CAN I GET A STOP OR
YIELD SIGN AT MY INTERSECTION?
The Town follows the standards of the MUTCD, which requires specific
signs for specific purposes. The true purpose of a stop sign is solely
to assign right-of-way at an intersection. Various research studies
indicate that stop signs do not reduce the overall speed of traffic.
When stop signs are installed the speeds are reduced in the vicinity of
the stop sign, but tend to be higher between the intersections as
drivers try to make up for delays. The overuse of stop signs may cause
general contempt for all traffic control devices, often with tragic
consequences. Signs that don't fulfill a proper need get ignored. They
don't command respect.
Stop signs are installed at an intersection only after a traffic
engineering study is completed that considers accident history, traffic
volumes, speed of traffic, and sign distance problems. The following
warrants must be met prior to installation of a two-way stop sign:
- The intersection of a less
important road with a main road where application of the normal right-of-way
rule is unduly hazardous.
- A street entering a
through highway or street.
- An un-signalized
intersection in a signalized area.
- Other intersections where
a combination of high speed, restricted view, and serious accident
record (defined by 5 or more collisions within a 12 month period)
indicates a need for control by a stop sign.
The following warrants must be met prior to the installation of
a 4-Way stop sign:
- Where traffic signals are
going to be placed soon and the intersection needs a temporary solution
to control the traffic.
- An intersection that has
several crashes (5 or more correctable collisions in 12 months).
- When an intersection has
the following traffic volumes:
- the total volume of
traffic entering the intersection from all approaches must average at
least 500 vehicles per hour for any eight hours of an average day;
- the combined vehicular
and pedestrian volume that enters the intersection from the minor
street must average at least 200 units per hour for the same eight
hours, with an average delay to the minor street traffic of at least
30 seconds per vehicle during the maximum hour;
- the 85th percentile approach
speed (this is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles
travel on a given roadway) of the major street traffic exceeds 40
miles per hour, and the minimum vehicular volume warrant is 70% of the
The following warrants must be met prior to the installation of
a Yield sign:
- On a minor road at the
entrance to an intersection where it is necessary to assign right-
of-way to the major road, but where a stop sign is not necessary at all
times, and where the safe approach speed on the minor road exceeds 10
miles per hour.
- On the entrance ramp to an
expressway where an acceleration ramp is not provided.
- Within an intersection
with a divided highway, where a STOP sign is present at the entrance to
the first roadway and further control is necessary at the entrance
between the two roadways, and where the median width between the
- At an intersection where a
special problem exists and where an engineering study indicates the
problem to be susceptible to correction by use of the YIELD sign.
Every time a stop sign is considered, a less restrictive method
such as a yield sign is first considered. Traffic accidents can be reduced
with simple measures not involving signs like improving visibility and
prohibiting parking close to the intersection. Unfortunately, there is no
general solution to the problem of speeding traffic.
†HOW DOES THE TOWN DECIDE
WHERE TO PUT IN A TRAFFIC SIGNAL?
The purpose of a traffic signal is to assign right-of-way to opposing
movements of traffic at an intersection. They work best are very busy
streets. The busiest streets operated by counties, the State of Maryland or the Maryland
State Toll Highway Authority. The warrants for a signal are much more
stringent than for signs.
3. WON'T SPEED BUMPS
SLOW TRAFFIC ON OUR STREETS?
Speed bumps are not recognized by the State of Maryland
as an official traffic control device, and as such the Town of Thurmont does not use
them on public streets. Speed bumps adversely affect drainage and snow
removal and are ineffective. The faster a car crosses a bump the less it is
4. CAN MY NEIGHBORHOOD
GET A "CHILDREN AT PLAY" SIGN POSTED?
"Children at Play" signs are requested to provide added protection
to their children near roadways. However, studies have shown that
"Children at Play" signs in residential areas do not reduce vehicle
speeds or pedestrian accidents. The use of these signs creates a false sense
of security in both parents and children. "Children at Play" signs
may suggest to children that it is acceptable to play in Town streets, which
could lead to devastating results. It is important to teach children to
respect moving vehicles and how to be a safe pedestrian. Most importantly,
children should not play in or near roadways.
5. CAN WE HAVE A
CROSSWALK AT THIS INTERSECTION?
Crosswalks can either be "marked" with painted lines of white or
yellow, or left "unmarked" at an intersection. The purpose of a
"marked" crosswalk is to encourage pedestrians to use a particular
crossing. Normally, crosswalks are "marked" at places where there
is an abundance of pedestrian movement, at a signal, and where pedestrians cannot
recognize a proper place to cross. However, if "marked" crosswalks
are not frequently used by pedestrians, then drivers tend to forget that they
exist. As a result, accidents can occur when pedestrians rely on crosswalk
pavement markings to provide them with a safe barrier from traffic. It is
important that pedestrians remain attentive and cautious of on-coming
vehicles on a roadway before crossing a street, regardless of the presence,
or lack of, a crosswalk.
6. HOW DOES THE POLICE
DEPARTMENT ADDRESS PROBLEMS OF SPEEDING VEHICLES?
receipt of a citizen concern about speeding vehicles, the Police Department
first must determine if indeed there is a speeding problem. This is done by conducting
discreet speed survey.† Officers
monitor the traffic at the times specified by the complainant and determine
if special speed enforcement is needed. †If too many motorists are traveling over the
posted limit, several methods of speed-reduction operations may be utilized.
These include: Saturation Patrol and Selective Radar Enforcement.† Saturation Patrol:† When Officers have un-obligated time they
will attempt to regularly patrol the target location area. †Selective Enforcement:† Selective Enforcement is the distribution
of police manpower to a target location. Police Officers are assigned to this
location in patrol vehicles and will issue citations to drivers for speeding
and other traffic violations.
7. WHY DON'T WE HAVE
CROSSING GUARDS AT ALL SCHOOL CROSSINGS?
The primary objective at a pedestrian crossing used by students is the protection
of children. The chances of meeting this objective increase if the school
children and drivers can easily interpret, understand, and follow the traffic
control directives in the area of the crossing. Keeping the signing and/or
traffic control within school zones consistent throughout a particular
jurisdiction accomplishes this understanding. Adult crossing guards are used
at some school crossings in order to supply adequate crossing breaks in the
traffic flow, but this type of traffic control can be expensive and the need
must be closely evaluated. A properly designed route to school should not
require the use of adult crossing guards. However, this depends on the
location of the school, the roadway network, and the location of the child's
home. Student should be careful when crossing the street and that not all
drivers are necessarily watching out for them. Drivers need to be aware of
the possibility of pedestrians in the area.
8. IS IT ILLEGAL TO
DRIVE WITHOUT A LICENSE PLATE ON THE FRONT OF MY CAR?
Maryland Vehicle Code requires motor vehicles to display a valid registration
plate on both the front and rear of a vehicle. Often times, drivers chose not
to display a license plate in the front of their vehicle because it may not
look appealing, or it has been lost; however, this practice is unlawful. If
you have lost a license plate or believe it was stolen, report it to the
police and Motor Vehicle Administration, so a duplicate may be issued.
License plates must be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the
vehicle for which they are registered. †You cannot use a license plate from a
different vehicle without notifying the Motor Vehicle Administration and
properly transferring the license plate.
The use of license plate covers is illegal. This includes tinted, colored,
painted, marked, illuminated, and CLEAR covers that cover any characters of a
motor vehicle's registration plate. This law also prohibits the sale of such
Registration plates displayed on the rear of a vehicle must display valid
stickers. Stickers are issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration and expire
on the last date of the month displayed on the sticker (i.e., a sticker
displaying 11-06 expires on Nov.
Additional information regarding vehicle registration may be obtained online
through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.