"The new standards will make highway signs as visible as possible to drivers in low-light conditions," Capka said. "The holidays are meant to be merry and bright, and now highways will be safer and brighter."
... Nighttime Visibility
Nighttime visibility of signs and pavement markings provide critical information to drivers at night, help drivers navigate the road during nighttime hours, enhance traffic flow and driver mobility, and promotes safe driving.
Retroreflectivity is the scientific term that describes the ability of a surface to return light back to its source. Retroreflective signs and pavement markings bounce light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver's eyes, making signs and pavement markings visible to the driver.
* Announcement of Final Rule: Revision 2 of the 2003 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2007, and will become effective on January 22, 2008. The final rule provides additional requirements, guidance, clarification, and flexibility in maintaining traffic sign retroreflectivity that is already required by the MUTCD. The minimum retroreflectivity levels and maintenance methods consider changes in the composition of the vehicle population, vehicle headlamp design, and the demographics of drivers. The FHWA expects that the levels and maintenance methods will help to promote safety and mobility on the nation’s streets and highways Minimum Maintained Retroreflectivity.
o What has changed due to recent rulemaking for maintaining minimum sign retroreflectivity. [HTML] [PDF - 102KB]
o Brochure: Maintaining Traffic Sign Reroreflectivity - 2007 [HTML] [PDF - 198 KB]
o Final Rule: Maintaining Sign Retroreflectivity [HTML] [PDF - 261 KB]
o Report: Methods for Maintaining Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity [HTML] [PDF - 683 KB]
o Background: Rulemaking process included a Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) and a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Amendment (SNPA) on Sign Retroreflectivity" (Continued via Occupational Health & Safety, FHWA) [Ergonomics Resources]