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Picking up on a topic mentioned in our most recent blog, it’s necessary for our customers to know what they’re trying to accomplish with their decorative street signs before they buy. Providing information accurately and tastefully is often uppermost, but enhancing traffic and road safety is an important goal as well. And you certainly don’t want to inadvertently create a safety problem when installing your ornamental sign poles.

Although not needed by everyone, some projects benefit from installing breakaway devices to enhance safety. What are they? Simply, they are traffic sign posts, street sign posts or wayfinding sign posts made to collapse at ground level if the driver of a car or truck loses control and hits one. Quoting the Federal Highway Administration, “Breakaway devices are designed and constructed to break or yield when struck by a vehicle. The term ‘breakaway’ refers to crash-tested devices that break or bend upon impact.” (For further information, see http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/policy_guide/road_hardware/ctrmeasures/breakaway/)

Breakaway devices are typically used in higher-speed settings. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is the national standard used for all roads open for public travel, states: "Ground-mounted sign supports shall be breakaway, yielding, or shielded with a longitudinal barrier or crash cushion if within the clear zone." For roads with posted speed limits of 50 mph or higher, the 2003 edition of the MUTCD established a compliance target date of January 18, 2013. There is no target compliance date for roads with posted speeds of less than 50 mph. (For further information, see


In addition, there are local breakaway requirements that can vary, depending on the particular circumstances where your signage is located, so we always recommend that you first get educated on what’s required by contacting your local public works manager. Capital StreetScapes offers several solutions when breakaway poles are required or preferred by the customer. We sell ornamental sign posts that can enhance safety in your cities, communities and neighborhoods.