Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices defines the standards used by road managers and contractors nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all streets and highways. The MUTCD is published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F.  The MUTCD has been adopted as the law in Tennessee; violation of the MUTCD is negligence per se.   Here is a list of the other states that have adopted the MUTCD.

If you have a case that involves an injury or death at a road construction site you will want to consult this manual to determine if the contractors involved followed the minimum standards established by this manual.  The manual also applies to governmental entities and others placing road signs.

Here is the 2003 edition of the  MUTCD with Revisons 1 and 2 Incorporated, effective date December 2007.   Here is the Table of Contents.  This site also has the previous editions of the MUTCD.

Tennessee’s supplement to the MUTCD, "Rules for Guide Signs on Freeways, Expressways and Conventional Highways", was adopted July, 2005.  The Tennessee supplement is found in Chapter 1680-03-02 of the state rules and regulations.  Be sure to check this site to find the addition rules applying to  contractors working in Tennessee.

I have been using the MUTCD in my practice for almost 20 years, and it is my perception that the standards have been weakened over the years to make it more difficult to use the standards against contractors and governmental entities in litigation.  However, the MUTCD still sets the minimum standard, and therefore any research in this field needs to start with this document.