Report: Stop Lines do Little to Encourage Drivers to Stop

Route Fifty

By Kate Elizabeth Queram, JANUARY 11, 2021

Stop lines, the thick white bars painted ahead of intersections, do little to prevent crashes or influence driver behavior, a 14-year study found. Stop lines—the thick white bars painted ahead of intersections to indicate where cars should stop—are largely ineffective at preventing crashes and also don’t do a great job of getting drivers to hit the brakes, according to the results of a 14-year study in Minnesota. The study, conducted by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, examined crash and traffic data from a handful of suburbs from 2004 to 2018, including video clips from 16 intersections both before and after the installation of a stop line. The results showed that stop lines “showed no association with crash occurrence,” and were useful in decreasing accidents only occasionally, in conjunction with other factors, “especially the presence of a painted crosswalk.” The lines, also known as stop bars, were likewise unhelpful in keeping drivers from pulling their cars too far into intersections. According to an analysis of video footage, drivers tended to stop on or up to 10 feet past the location of the stop line, both before and after installation


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