Hey, bud, need some stop sign?

Want “medical” marijuana in California? A doctor will prescribe you some, no questions asked. Want opiates in Florida? Same deal.

Want a nuisance stop sign… anywhere? An engineering consulting firm will prescribe you one. Or should I say four?

Of course there are honest doctors and engineers. If you already know what you want there’s no point in going to one.

Selectmen in a Boston suburb really wanted traffic calming stop signs. In Massachusetts it’s illegal to use stop signs for traffic calming, but who cares about the law? They paid a so-called engineer to give them stop signs.

I call him a so-called engineer not just because he didn’t do his job properly. He didn’t have a license to do his job at all.

Unlicensed engineers are surprisingly common compared to unlicensed doctors. My city also hired one to prescribe some nuisance stop signs.

Maybe if he had been licensed he would have read the rules… but would he have cared? I doubt it. Plenty of licensed engineers don’t care about the rules. Some of them don’t even know about the rules.

Ignorance is no excuse. Part of the job of a professional is to know the rules, or to know how to find the rules. The PE exam is open book for a reason.

Last year the city of Leominster, Massachusetts paid a consultant to recommend some unneeded stop signs. This would be just another item on my long list, except for an unusual role reversal. The City Council changed its mind about stop signs after the police chief said they weren’t allowed. Not just weren’t needed, weren’t allowed.

It took a non-specialist to correct the specialist’s mistake.

Some consultant wasn’t doing his job.

Or should I say he was doing his job, but his job wasn’t traffic engineering.

The opinions expressed in belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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