RESEARCH - Effectiveness of Painted Stop Lines
If there is a marked stop line at an intersection controlled by a stop sign, drivers (and cyclists) are required to stop at that line. This rule is probably almost universally ignored in favour of stopping in a position where the driver can see cross traffic that would require them to yield. Of course, many drivers choose not to stop at all.
A study from the University of Minnesota's Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering looks at the effectiveness of the marked stop line at stop sign controlled intersections. It asked 3 questions:
- Do stop lines have an impact on crashes?
- Do stop lines have an effect on overall driver behavior?
- Do stop lines affect where drivers are stopping, if they stop?
Here are the answers:
There is no evidence supporting that the presence of a stop line has a significant independent impact on crashes. Specifically, in the case of intersections with four or more approaches, even when other contributing factors are controlled for, there is no statistically significant association between the presence of a stop line and crash occurrence.
A number of results suggest that stop lines do influence driver behavior. Unfortunately, the influence is rarely the desired one and only in specific ways is it beneficial.
In all cases, drivers stopped 10 feet or more after the stop line and/or sign. In fact, when there is a stop line present, the more space there is between the stop line and the absolute edge of the conflicting driving lane the more drivers ignore the stop line.