LETTER: Road sign colours should be changed

When drivers say they didn’t see the sign, if they are colour blind they are telling the truth

Dear Editor:

Why are traffic signs (such as the stop and yield) red, when there is a percentage of the population who have a disability that may prevent them from seeing red signs that are surrounded by green vegetation?

Being colour blind is officially considered a disability and it affects one in 12 men and one in 200 women worldwide.

I am one of those women.

Red-green colour deficiency is the most common form of colour blindness, while in some rare cases others may not be able to see blue and yellow.

A common misconception is that a person with red-green colour blindness cannot see red at all. That is not true.

If you give me a red shirt, I can see that it is red, but if you lay that red shirt on the green grass, at a distance it totally disappears and all I see is green grass.

The same holds true for red apples on a green tree or red roses on a green bush….or red stop signs against a backdrop of green countryside.

When drivers fail to stop at a stop sign or fail to yield and then say they didn’t see the sign, if they are colour blind they are telling the absolute truth.

I often wonder when experts are reconstructing an accident site, if they even consider this scenario.

When I took my driving exam I failed the colour blind test and was told that if I ever went through a sign, that my colour blindness would not be a valid excuse.

I have often wondered then, why are stop signs red?

Would it not make it safer to have stop and yield signs in a colour that all people could see or to at least paint the lettering and border of red signs yellow instead of the white that they are now?

In this day and age, having the knowledge that almost 10 per cent of drivers may be colour blind it seems discriminatory to me that we use signage that may not stand out for them and reckless to not fix a problem we know exists, so I am asking you to help me in this cause.

Carla McLeod


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