Written by Gregory Monte.
If you check my blog archives you will see that I have written 18 posts which discuss how the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) can be used to beat a traffic ticket (speeding, stop sign, red light, etc.). If you want to take a deep dive into this topic, check out the list of links I provide at the end of this post.
But if you don’t have the time to peruse all of those details, just consider this quick example. My son won his case (in part) by referencing a Standard in Section 2B.10 of the MUTCD:
“The STOP or YIELD sign shall be located as close as practical to the intersection it regulates, while optimizing its visibility to the road user it is intended to regulate.”
The word “shall” means required by law. Because his particular sign had been moved closer to the intersection after he got his ticket, it obviously was not “as close as practical” at the time of the alleged offense. This violation of the MUTCD (which was adopted by Pennsylvania in its entirety) meant that the stop sign was not enforceable.
The MUTCD Matters … Even in Kansas …
First of all, no offense to residents of Kansas …
Today I won’t be providing any new advice about how to apply the MUTCD to a specific traffic offense like I did in those previous 18 posts. Instead, I want to provide support for my contention that this ticket fighting strategy really is universal.
Take a random state like Kansas, for example. It’s Supreme Court made clear in a 2018 decision that the MUTCD matters (Patterson v. Cowley County, 307 Kan. 616, 413 P.3d 432, 435):
“Our holding is founded on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), adopted by the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation …This manual has the force and effect of law.”
For Further Research
If you get any type of traffic ticket and want to fight it, don’t forget to check the MUTCD as you plan your defense. There are so many specifications that have to be complied with that you just might be able to find one that your state/locality failed to implement. If so, you will most likely prevail in court. Check out some of my posts listed below for specific ideas related to the MUTCD defense strategy.
- A Short Stop Sign Cannot Be Enforced
- A Small Stop Sign Cannot Be Enforced.
- A Sure-Fire Way to Beat a Traffic Ticket
- A Ticket for Using the Shoulder to Turn Right? Not in TX (and possibly PA)
- Are Yellow Speed Limit Signs Legally Enforceable by Police?
- Can You Cross a Double Yellow Line to Pass a Slow-Moving Vehicle?
- Crossing a Solid White Line on a Highway – Is it Legal?
- Just How “Technical” are Traffic Law Technicalities?
- Lower Speed Limits Are Better … Right?
- Passing in a No Passing Zone – The One Exception
- Size DOES Matter … At Least When It Comes to Speed Limit Signs …
- Street Signs on Stop Sign Poles – Legal and Enforceable?
- The Local Ordinance – A Great Way to Beat a Traffic Ticket
- The Motor Vehicle Statute That Trumps Them All.
- The Problem with Stop Signs
- Ticket for a Nonconforming Traffic Sign/Signal?
- “Unfair” Speeding Tickets?
- Using the “MUTCD Technicality” to Beat a Traffic Ticket