Signs Being Phased Out 14 Oct 13

Some signs like “deer crossing,” which officials say do little to promote safety, are being phased out in Carver County and elsewhere.

The image of a leaping buck or the words “Deer crossing” on a ­yellow sign are so familiar on rural ­Minnesota roads that many drivers don’t even notice them. The same goes for “Slow, Children at Play” signs on city streets.

Now drivers may not be noticing that the signs are slowly disappearing in many places across the state.

The Star Tribune reports in Carver County, officials are removing them because, they say, there’s no evidence that they cause motorists to slow down, and could give parents a false sense of security.

The changes are part of a new county sign policy commissioners are expected to approve next week.

Other signs on the way out include warnings about hidden driveways, blind approaches and tractor crossings.

CarverCountyhas about 7,400 signs on county roads.

County commissioners say the county is ­following the state’s example in removing the warning signs, seeking to be consistent with the Minnesota Department of Transportation best-practices handbook for traffic sign maintenance and ­management.

However, the state Department of Natural Resources takes a different approach. This week, it issued its annual safety reminder about deer, advising drivers to “look for deer-crossing signs that are posted in high-risk areas” to avoid collisions, and to drive with caution in those posted areas.

Motorists reported nearly 7,500 deer-vehicle collisions in the state over the past three years, according to the Department of Public Safety. Large spikes occur in October and November, when deer are on the move during mating season and when deer-hunting season begins.