Question: A group of neighbors were discussing the yellow diamond-shaped signs with a large black cross and a speed number below on a separate small yellow sign at some highway intersections, typically found in the vicinity of a small town.
Some thought that the speed listed was not enforceable, more a "suggestion" or warning of the upcoming intersection. Others felt that it was the same as the limits on the white signs and going faster than the listed speed could very well be in violation of the rules of the road and they would receive a speeding ticket. We'd appreciate your comments on this issue. Thanks for your help.
Answer: Basically, the group that says these signs are not an enforceable speed limit is correct. To help explain why that is, let's look at the Minnesota Driver Manual to learn what traffic signs mean. Minnesota signs conform to national standards and are intended to provide instructions to help us drive safely. The signs are divided into three basic categories: regulatory, warning and informational.
-Regulatory signs are red or white in color. Red signs prohibit and command, such as "stop" and "do not enter" signs. White signs regulate, such as "speed limit" and "one way" signs.
-Warning signs are yellow, yellow-green or orange in color. Yellow signs warn such as "railroad crossing" or "slippery road" signs. Yellow-green signs warn and control in pedestrian and bicycle crossings and school areas. You may notice that the newer signs are yellow-green while older signs are yellow. Do not be concerned about that. The orange signs warn and control in construction zones such as "road work ahead" and "flagman" signs.
-Informational signs are green, blue or brown in color. Green guides and informs drivers such as the signs that tell us how far it is to such and such town or that here is a bike route. Blue signs describe services for motorists such as "rest area" or that the next exit has gas, food or lodging close by. Brown signs indicate historic, cultural, or recreation sites.
Now, in a situation such as you described, we have a yellow diamond shaped sign that warns us we are approaching an intersection and below that is a yellow rectangular sign warning us that a particular speed (example 45 mph) should be used. I must point out that this yellow sign is a warning sign not a regulatory sign. These signs do not state what the speed limit is. It is the white (regulatory) signs that indicate what the maximum legal speed is.
According to the Ted Foss law, when on a multi-lane road and approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the side, with lights flashing, drivers are required to move over if possible. State Troopers are out there to help and protect you. Please help keep us safer by giving us that room, when safely possible, for our safety. Our families also thank you!
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Andy Schmidt- Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (Or reach me at, firstname.lastname@example.org.)