April 1, 2021 –El Paso County has completed an evaluation of the intersection of Shoup and Vollmer Roads in Black Forest and determined it is in compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) standards as provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.

In response to citizen concerns that too many drivers are failing to comply with the stop signs at the intersection, El Paso County will complete a number of safety enhancements. While it complies with MUTCD standards and is properly signed, additional signage and pavement markings can be added to enhance the intersection’s safety.

The safety enhancements will begin on today and include:

  • Larger STOP signs measuring 48”x 48”
  • Larger STOP AHEAD symbol signs measuring 48”x48”
  • New STOP AHEAD word message supplemental warning plaque
  • Additional street name signing
  • Replacement of cross road symbol sign and street name supplemental sign
  • New highly reflective “Stop Ahead” signage on the pavement itself.
  • New highly reflective stop line pavement markings
  • Vegetation removal

The safety of our citizens on our roadways is always a priority. Whenever a fatality occurs on any of our roads, El Paso County Department of Public Works evaluates the location of the incident to confirm all our traffic-control devices installed at the time of the accident are in compliance with (MUTCD) standards. They also conduct a review of the final accident report from Colorado State Patrol related to the incident to consider all the contributing factors.

Once the evaluation and review of the accident report is completed, then a determination is made if any changes can be made to enhance the safety of our roads. This proactive approach is consistently applied to any unfortunate incident where a traffic crash results in a death on an El Paso County maintained road.

Unfortunately, accidents and near misses at Shoup and Vollmer are symptomatic of an alarming trend on rural roads everywhere. In 2018, a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that rural roads are twice as dangerous as urban thoroughfares. Several factors contribute to the alarming statistic, but one is that driving is considered an “overlearned activity” by which our driving experience determines many of our actions and reactions on the road.

Drivers who spend the majority of their time on city streets, busy urban collector roads, and have limited experience on divided roads are on “unfamiliar ground” on rural roads. Without other vehicles on the road and regularly spaced stop signs and signals, their attention may be focused far beyond an upcoming intersection or sharp turn as they search for a familiar reference point on the car or sign in front of them. Worse yet, with no cars in sight, they perceive that they don’t have to worry about any other traffic. Adding to this are drivers that do not comply with speed limits, following to close to other vehicles, or allowing themselves to become distracted due to cell phones and other items in the vehicle.

With this in mind, Paso County is partnering with local key stakeholders to develop a road safety plan to make roads safer and reduce deaths and serious injuries on county roads. As a part of this effort, El Paso County is conducting a detailed analysis of current safety and crash trends in the region to understand where, why and how crashes occur and identify priority locations and roadway types for safety improvements, education, and enforcement priorities. The El Paso County Local Road Safety Plan will guide the county and partner agencies in implementing recommendations based on an innovative data-driven approach to traffic safety.

The public can visit the project’s comprehensive website to stay informed about upcoming meetings, data analysis results, project presentations, meeting notes, and other project developments.

El Paso County Public Works will continue to diligently look for ways to improve the safety on all County roads, but drivers have the ultimate responsibility and biggest opportunity to really make a difference. Safe attentive and defensive driving is, by far, the most effective way to prevent accidents.