Are Traffic Signs Dangerous?

A Duke University professor said Tuesday that U.S. highway fatalities are high because speed limits and stop signs have dumbed down and distracted American drivers.

“Driving in America is annoying. And traffic signals are not just annoying, they are dangerous,” said John Staddon, who holds a doctorate in experimental psychology and is past editor of the journals Behavioural Process and Behavior & Philosophy.

The professor maintains that the signs divert the driver’s attention from the road, because the signs are placed off the road.

He criticized the number of stop signs in the United States — essentially at every intersection.

“And more important, they require a stop even when stopping is not necessary for safety’s sake,” Staddon said.

And worse, he added, American neighborhoods use four-way stops to slow traffic, “which is not a good use for them.”

When asked if he thought there would be a movement in the United States to remove stop and speed limit signs, he replied: “I hope so. They are dangerous.”


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