Phasing out ‘Children At Play’ signs

Kentucky is falling in line with a nationwide effort to remove children at play signs.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices offers guidelines to make signs uniform from state to state. According to the manual, the signs do not offer any valuable information to drivers. But, many neighbors believe the signs help keep children safe.

The curvy country road by Tabatha Arkuski’s house makes her nervous. She says people drive around the corner so fast, she hears drivers from inside her home. That is a constant concern when her son plays outside.

"Normally, he gets about 20 foot to the road, and that’s as far as I’ll go. And then he’ll stop," Arkuski says.

Arkuski says she taught him to keep his distance but, with a toddler, she needs all the help she can get. "I think a big yellow sign to make a lot of difference or at least being a parent does," she says.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says he sees how signs make parents feel more secure, but drivers don’t actually slow down.

"We’re looking for signs that give people useful information, and just to say ‘children at play’ doesn’t tell you anything because children could be playing anywhere at anytime," Todd says.

Todd says, in some instances, children are even more likely to play in the street when signs are posted. He says the bottom line is that kids don’t need to be playing in the street.

While you can post children at play signs on your private property, they’re still discouraged.

But, for Arkuski, the speed she sees around the curve while her child plays outside is enough.

The transportation cabinet encourages counties to take down the signs. Counties are allowed to leave the signs up on county roads.

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