(Not) Car Club

Stan­dard road warn­ings and signs

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents -

They’re just dudes who en­joy the ro­tary en­gine.

‘traf­fic signs shall not bear ad­ver­tis­ing (or mes­sage) not es­sen­tial to traf­fic con­trol’

QueS­tion: What are the stan­dards for road warn­ings and street signs that is or should be fol­lowed in the Philip­pines?

the Philip­pine stan­dards for road warn­ings and street signs are based on in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions en­tered into among coun­tries. In­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions reg­u­late road traf­fic be­tween na­tions by adopt­ing uni­form road-traf­fic rules, road signs and sig­nals, driver li­censes, and ve­hi­cle regis­tra­tion doc­u­men­ta­tion, and by set­ting safety stan­dards for ve­hi­cle de­sign and their equip­ment.

The Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Road Signs and Sig­nals of 1968 con­tains rules for in­ter­na­tional uni­for­mity of road signs, sig­nals, sym­bols, and mark­ings. As road traf­fic and speed in­creases in the coun­try, there is no room for a ‘lo­cal’ prac­tice or in­ter­pre­ta­tion for the na­tional road sys­tem. Lo­cal vari­a­tions must not con­tra­dict the ad­min­is­tra­tive reg­u­la­tions, trans­porta­tion and traf­fic laws, and in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions.

The con­ven­tion on road rules be­came im­por­tant to coun­tries with mo­torists en­ter­ing from other coun­tries. The need arose to reg­u­late cross-bor­der ve­hi­cles and drivers in terms of their ve­hi­cle regis­tra­tion and driver li­cense. The Con­ven­tion forms a co­her­ent sys­tem for road signs, traf­fic lights, and road mark­ings to be de­signed and placed along the road­way.

The Philip­pines is a con­tract­ing party to both the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Road Signs and Sig­nals and the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Road Traf­fic. Th­ese were rat­i­fied by Pres­i­den­tial De­cree No. 207 (1973), thus adopt­ing and mak­ing th­ese two con­ven­tions as “part of the law of the land.” Our road rules are con­tained in the Land Trans­porta­tion and Traf­fic Code, Repub­lic Act No. 4136 (1964). Ide­ally, all sub­se­quent ad­min­is­tra­tive is­suances must be con­sis­tent and re­flect the later reg­u­la­tions found in the in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions adopted.

Un­der the Code, an ap­pli­cant for a driver li­cense must pass an ex­am­i­na­tion to demon­strate pro­fi­ciency in read­ing and in­ter­pret­ing var­i­ous traf­fic signs, sig­nals, and road mark­ings, and in op­er­at­ing a mo­tor ve­hi­cle. The LTO can is­sue a li­cense only if the ap­pli­cant passes the exam. The Code as­sumes that the li­censed driver is pro­fi­cient in read­ing and in­ter­pret­ing traf­fic signs, sig­nals, and road mark­ings. And, by rec­i­proc­ity among na­tions, that pre­sump­tion ap­plies to all driver li­censes is­sued by other au­thor­i­ties from around the globe.

The De­part­ment of Public Works and High­ways (DPWH) has is­sued the Road Signs and Pave­ment Mark­ings Man­ual to es­tab­lish and main­tain a stan­dard­ized sys­tem on all roads in the Philip­pines by in­cor­po­rat­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted stan­dards and prac­tices. As a vari­a­tion from the con­ven­tion, it pro­vides bilin­gual signs in English and Filipino. In the in­ter­est of uni­for­mity, lo­cal gov­ern­ment units, traf­fic man­age­ment and en­forc­ing au­thor­i­ties, and project man­agers and con­sul­tants must ap­ply the re­quire­ments of the Man­ual on all road projects or main­te­nance ac­tiv­i­ties.

Road signs are clas­si­fied ac­cord­ing to their use: reg­u­la­tory signs, warn­ing signs, guide or in­for­ma­tive signs, signs for ex­press­ways, signs for spe­cial pur­poses, and haz­ard mark­ers.

Be­cause road signs are an es­sen­tial part of the road traf­fic sys­tem, their mes­sage should be con­cise, mean­ing­ful, and con­sis­tent, and their de­sign and place­ment must be co­or­di­nated with the road geo­met­ric de­sign. We need to stop the ver­bose fine print on tar­pau­lin ma­te­ri­als hoisted up to serve as reg­u­la­tory signs, warn­ing signs, and in­for­ma­tive signs. Traf­fic signs shall not bear ad­ver­tis­ing or com­mer­cial mes­sage, or any other mes­sage that is not es­sen­tial to traf­fic con­trol.

Ac­cord­ing to the Man­ual, the use of sym­bols on signs to con­vey all or part of a mes­sage may re­duce read­ing time and ex­tend leg­i­bil­ity dis­tance. The Man­ual con­tains com­mon stan­dard sym­bols, ar­rows, sym­bolic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of leg­ends, and lo­ca­tion des­ti­na­tions.

Signs are nor­mally lo­cated on the right side of the road. In spe­cial cir­cum­stances spec­i­fied in the Man­ual, signs may be du­pli­cated on the left side or mounted over the road. No spe­cific rules can be ap­plied to the ex­act lo­ca­tion of reg­u­la­tory signs be­cause their po­si­tion varies with their pur­pose. Most are usu­ally lo­cated on the right side of the car­riage­way to face the ap­proach­ing traf­fic as close as pos­si­ble to the po­si­tion where reg­u­la­tory ac­tion is re­quired.

The No En­try sign shall be used at the ter­mi­na­tion of a one-way car­riage­way to pro­hibit ac­cess to all ve­hi­cles from the wrong di­rec­tion. At one-way street ex­its, No En­try signs shall be erected on both sides of the street at the in­ter­sec­tion fac­ing in the opposite di­rec­tion to the one-way flow. The signs may need to be lo­cated a short dis­tance into the one-way street if there is a pos­si­bil­ity of drivers be­com­ing con­fused as to which street is closed for en­try. Suf­fi­cient signs shall be erected to en­sure that at least one is clearly vis­i­ble to drivers ap­proach­ing from any di­rec­tion, and some signs may have to be set at an an­gle to achieve this pur­pose.

In case you missed the No En­try sign be­cause the sign was not vis­i­ble, you may con­test or protest the is­suance of the traf­fic ticket. In your protest, you may ar­gue that the place­ment of the No En­try sign was not as man­dated by the DPWH Road Signs and Pave­ment Mark­ings Man­ual; as a re­sult, you were not aware of the re­stric­tion on that road.

ROBBY CONSUNJI

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