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Center for Health Literacy Promotion Blog

Health Literacy on the Street: Too many words make signage unreadable

If you are hit by a car going 20 miles an hour, you have 95% chance of survival. If the car is going 30MPH, your chances drop to 55%, says Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center in Seattle. That is why signs in school zones say “Speed Limit 20”.  It’s a national public health effort to reduce accidents and injuries. A health literate driver would comply.
The Seattle Times reports a local driver had his $189 ticket for speeding through a school zone dismissed. The judge agreed with his argument that too many words on the sign made it hard-to-impossible for drivers to read in time to slow down. The driver cited the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which specifies fewer words.  The City vows new signs will adhere to the manual.
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