“The bears are comin' out of the woods!” This is an old Tennessee saying describing the effect of poor food supply in the wilderness causing the bears to come out into communities in search for new food sources. It fittingly describes our industry in these economic times. Basically there is not enough work in our industry to keep us all fed. So we have to look in other areas for new revenue.  

     On January 16th of 2007, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) amended the United States Code (U.S.C.) to clarify the applicability of the Manual on Uniformed Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to any road open to public travel. The MUTCD is designed to insure that traffic control devices including signs and lines are uniform across the nation to prevent the confusion of motorists. In the past it was assumed that these rules only applied to government-owned public right-of-ways. This new amendment clarifies that these rules also apply to shopping centers, office and apartment complexes, and even recreation facilities. The February 2007 FHWA ruling required that states had two years to adopt this change. That time has expired, thus it is in full force. This new federal rule means newfound revenue for responsive pavement maintenance contractors.

     Just pick an office park, any park, and drive through it. It is likely you will find a number of areas that fail to meet the MUTCD. Are the stop signs red and white, octagon in shape, 24 inches or larger, installed a minimum of 7 feet from the grade, retroreflective (yes retroreflective)? Are the stop bars 24 inches in width, painted in white and have the proper stop sign posted? Are the speed limit signs in 5 mph increments? The list goes on.  

      Most property managers and owners are not aware of this ruling. To help communicate and verify this important information there is a brochure that is published by the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) “Federal Regulations Impact Signs on Private Property”. This brochure is specifically designed to communicate the ruling to managers and owners. It offers FAQ’s, example photos and links to applicable websites verifying the information it contains. We coach our customers to contact these managers and owners, present this brochure and offer a complementary survey of their facility. We even offer a form and method to be used to make the survey simple and fast. Then the contractor can approach the manager or owner with a detailed list of the changes that need to be made with an estimate.  

     Admittedly managers and owners are less willing to pull out their checkbooks in these uncertain economic times. Many are choosing to gamble, by putting off the maintenance of their parking surfaces. But they are still spending money on those the areas that expose them to the greatest liabilities. Although there are no MUTCD police, there is tort liability. If they are not within the code and an accident on their property causes injury (real or otherwise) or death, they will not only be forced to  pull out their check book, but also write a much bigger check.

Contact Professional Pavement Products, Inc. to receive a free “Tools Packet” full of pamphlets and ideas like these to put more profit in your pocket. Visit: http://www.pppcatalog.com Call: 888-717-7771