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  1. #1
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    Default Is the MUTCD Binding on the States as a Contract

    Quote Quoting joef
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    Brian, PayrolGuy is right no matter how much you do not want to believe the facts.
    MUTCD is not law. It is the manual for roadway signs and markings written and distributed by US DOT for states to adopt to give consistent signage and road markings nationwide. It is adopted by individual states, with or without modification, generally by reference, for how their roads are marked. It is up to individual states to decide if incorrect signage make signs unenforceable if their intent is clear.
    When States choose to follow the standards in the MUTCD, or adopt their own standards such as the CA MUTCD, this agreement is probably done on a written contract. Yes? When this agreement is established between a State and the Federal Govt, can a Traffic Judge disregard that agreement/contract and make other non-conforming signs enforceable in their courtroom? If so, that seems like a breach of contract?

    By allowing the above post to remain I would assume you feel the courts can enforce any type of sign they feel like enforcing...as long as it is legible?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2014
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    193

    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    Quote Quoting Brian57
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    Dear Moderator,

    When States choose to follow the standards in the MUTCD, or adopt their own standards such as the CA MUTCD, this agreement is probably done on a written contract. Yes? When this agreement is established between a State and the Federal Govt, can a Traffic Judge disregard that agreement/contract and make other non-conforming signs enforceable in their courtroom? If so, that seems like a breach of contract?

    By allowing the above post to remain I would assume you feel the courts can enforce any type of sign they feel like enforcing...as long as it is legible?
    There is not a contract between the Federal Govt and each state. Congress passes a law that says if the states do not adopt certain regulations they will lose some of their highway funding. Each state then passes a law adopting such regulations to keep their funding, in this case the MUTCD. Using WV as an example, §17C-3-1 of their highway code adopts MUTCD by reference as to what the signage and markings should be. Later there is a section concerning enforcement - §17C-3-4(c) -
    No provision of this chapter for which signs are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official sign is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that signs are required, such section shall be effective even though no signs are erected or in place.

    How you interpret the bolded section is up to the courts and not being a lawyer I am not sure. Proper position could refer to specification of placement or if postioned so it is visible to a motorist. It does not say that non-conforming signs are not enforceable. Since the MUTCD is periodically updated (in the 50's they went from yellow stop signs with black print to our current red with white print) it is clear that once a new version is adopted there has to be an interval where the old nonconforming signs have not been replaced which could take years. Does that mean they are not enforceable? Unlikely since in WV an official sign, properly positioned and legible is enforceable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,901

    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    There is no contract. State government doesn't make a contract by enacting laws or adopting standards. It isn't even anything remotely like a contract.

    Judges have to enforce the law. There is no law in California (nor am I aware anywhere else) that says that failure to comply with MUTCD (or it's local variants) is exculpatory. As has been pointed out, if the failure to comply with the MUTCD makes the sign hard to see or understand, one could indeed hold up the MUTCD as the "way things should be done" but the court isn't obliged to toss out things just because they don't technically comply, because there is no law that mandates the state MUST always comply.

    Posts aren't removed because they ask questions or provide answers or even unfounded opinions. They are removed when you violate the forum rules (imflamatory statements, profanity, commercial links, etc...).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    Maybe the word "contract" is not the correct word. What I meant is there anything written between a State and the Fed by which the State agrees to comply with the MUTCD?

    On another thread it was indicated that if a State does not comply with the MUTCD they jeopardize losing 10% of their Federal Highway/Roadway funding. If this is true, then there must be a more formal agreement between the two parties to comply with it. Furthermore, how would the Fed know if a State was complying with it? Also, if the 10% is true, how would the Fed withhold that funding if nothing was in writing?

    Nowadays everything is in writing. Nothing is inferred or practiced without being in writing. IMO, if that formal, written agreement could be revealed and presented in court it would weigh heavy on a Judge to the enforceability of the MUTCD. Law or no law.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    13

    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    I did find this, which could force states to comply with MUTCD, on interstate construction (which I assume, always use federal aid funds?)

    §655.603 (3) Construction area activities. All traffic control devices installed in construction areas using Federal-aid funds shall conform to the MUTCD.

    Also found this

    "Compliance with the MUTCD is required on any Federal-aid highway project in which Federal highway funds participate. Federal-aid projects cannot be opened to the public until conforming traffic control devices are installed and functioning properly. "

    https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources...ions/2_603.htm

    Actually!!

    Here is a killer. Very similar case. Can cases from another state be used?

    https://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/doc...oh-mutcd25.pdf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    Federal law is made that requires states to do certain things to get Highway funding. Think 55 MPH national speed limit and 21 Drinking age.

    But that doesn't make MUTCD law. If a state or locality doesn't do things according to it there problem will be the Feds not idiots that are trying to get out of tickets.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Federal law is made that requires states to do certain things to get Highway funding. Think 55 MPH national speed limit and 21 Drinking age.

    But that doesn't make MUTCD law. If a state or locality doesn't do things according to it there problem will be the Feds not idiots that are trying to get out of tickets.
    When you said on this public forum that you would like to "shoot" (murder) those that break simple traffic laws, IMO, you should have your posting privileges permanently revoked.

    Your posts are now irrelevant to me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    You go out on the street on a motorcycle and tell me how you feel after people in cars try to kill you on a regular basis.

    You have been irrelevant to me after about your 3rd post.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    Quote Quoting WVThrowawayy
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    Here is a killer. Very similar case. Can cases from another state be used?
    In general, no. If there is no precedent in the state in question (WV), you can refer to other state's cases to give guidance to the court of other judicial opinions, but only appellate cases within the same state or the appropriate Federal appellate district carry official legal weight. Even in the appellate case cited above there was dissent regarding the interpretation of that phrase I bolded above so this issue is not cut and dried even in Ohio. You need appellate cases from WV with similar outcomes to be binding on the court in your case.

    It is interesting that some of the decisions referenced in the appellate case cited indicate that Ohio courts (not the legislature in passed laws) have taken the stance that if a sign does not meet the exact specifications of the MUTCD it is not an official sign and therefore unenforceable.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cited for a Construction Zone. That Isn't a Construction Zone in West Virginia

    Quote Quoting joef
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    It is interesting that some of the decisions referenced in the appellate case cited indicate that Ohio courts (not the legislature in passed laws) have taken the stance that if a sign does not meet the exact specifications of the MUTCD it is not an official sign and therefore unenforceable.
    You are misreading the case. The court explicitly recites statutes as the basis of its decision: O.R.C. Sec. 4511.09 ("the Ohio Department of Transportation shall adopt a manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic control devices"), 4511.11(D) ("[a]ll traffic control devices erected on a public road, street, or alley, shall conform to the state manual and specifications") and 4511.12 ("No provision of this chapter for which signs are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official sign is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily ob servant person"). The precedents it cites apply those laws.

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