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Tuesday , 16 April 2024

What’s New in IRC: 67 – 2022

Ashwini Bagga – road safety expert and former consultant to the Department of Transport and Road Safety, Government of Rajasthan

The Third Revision of Code of Practice for Road Signs was released by IRC in 2012. After almost a span of ten years IRC has issued its Fourth Revision which was published in June 2022. This essay by Ashwini Bagga – road safety expert and former consultant to the Department of Transport and Road Safety, Government of Rajasthan– is an attempt to consolidate the amendments in road signs that have been introduced in the fourth revision

Rad Signs are effective means of communication to the driver with the primary objective to promote road safety. Road Signs are incorporated in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Section 116 of the Act describes the Powers to Erect Traffic Signs whereas section 119 refers to the Duty to Obey the Traffic Signs. In addition, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has introduced section 166 in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 which talks about the provision of road design, construction and maintenance standards as per Indian Road Congress norms. In the context, the role of IRC becomes imperative in setting standards for road construction and maintenance that required to be adhered by all road owning agencies. Failure to comply with standards in road design, construction or maintenance resulting in a fatal road crash is also backed by Section 198A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 which attracts heavy penalty to the concerned road owning and managing agency.

IRC have defined a number of road standards for all road categories and allied infrastructures which have been published in form of different reference manuals. Each manual has been assigned a unique code for identification. The Code of Practice for Road Signs (IRC: 67 – 2022) defines the methodology to be followed in use, siting, construction and maintenance of road signs.

For easier understanding, the amendments introduced by IRC in the fourth revision have been discussed in this article under categories.

General Changes

i. Merger of Codes: For this new code IRC has merged four of its previous manuals under IRC: 67 – 2022 which are:

  • IRC: 2 – 1968 – Route Marker Signs for National Highways
  • IRC: 30 – 1968 – Standard Letters and Numerals of Different Heights
  • IRC: 31 – 1969 – Route Marker Signs for State Highways
  • IRC: SP 31- 1992 – New Traffic Signs

ii. Dimension of Road Signs: For high speed roads such as expressways having design speed between 121 – 150 km/hr, IRC has introduced largest dimension of road signs having diameter or border size of 1500 mm.

iii. Type of Reflective Sheeting: IRC has recommended class and type of reflective sheeting to be used according to the road category for construction of road signs which is depicted in the table below:

Road Category Class of Sheeting Type of Sheeting Remarks
Expressways CLASS C TYPE XI
National / State Highways CLASS C TYPE XI TYPE IV Only for Work Zones
Major District Roads CLASS B
TYPE IV TYPE IX and TYPE XI Can be Used Based on Requirement
Other District Roads CLASS A
Urban Roads CLASS B
TYPE IV Only for Work Zones

iv. Backing Board: IRC has proposed use of Backing Boards having fluorescent yellow background to improve conspicuity for drawing attention to signs mounted in deep shadow or places affected by dull or foggy weather conditions. Backing board provides neater assembly for signs which require a supplementary plate. IRC does not recommend use of backing board as a routine practice.

New Categories of Road Signs

There are various categories of road signs defined in Code of Practice for road signs additional to the classification of road signs given by IRC such as Regulatory, Cautionary and Informatory signs which are primarily classified according to the shape of road signs. The two important categories introduced in the fourth revision include tourism related signs and enforcement related sign

  1. Tourism Related Signs: A separate category for tourism related signs have been introduced in IRC to mark presence of certain tourist places. These signs shall have to be made using brown background.
  2. Enforcement Related Signs: These signs are used to convey users of certain enforcement related measures are required to be actively followed by the traffic.
Improvement in Certain Existing Road Signs

The road signs should be simple and clear in meaning for all road users. Therefore, certain existing signs have been improved in terms of conspicuity or comprehension. For example, white background of School Ahead sign has been replaced with fluorescent green. Similarly, Men at Work sign now shall be displayed in yellow background with improved name as People at Work. This sign is temporary in nature and to be erected till the work is in progress. Hence according to the manual Traffic Management in Work Zones (IRC SP: 55 – 2014), all cautionary signs are erected having yellow background.

IRC defines route marker signs for four categories of roads. In the third revision, the outline for each route marker sign was different. In the fourth revision this ambiguity has been resolved and all route markers have been placed in identical outline. In addition, background colour of Asian Highways route marker has been changed from green to blue.

New Road Signs

Informatory signs have been included for pedestrian crossing and speed breaker. These signs were not available in the third revision of IRC 67: 2012 but had a mention in Code of Practice for Road Markings (IRC 35: 2015). With evolution of technology and rising share of electric vehicles on the roads, an EV charging station informatory sign has been introduced on the lines of Fuel Station sign. A set of cautionary signs i.e., approach road on curve could be of interest for highway engineers and road owning agencies. Keeping in view, four different types of intersections on an approach road, signs have been provided for each road scenario. Some of the new road signs introduced in the fourth revision are illustrated below.

Important Suggestions Incorporated by IRC

IRC released the first draft of the fourth revision of Code of Practice for road sign in 2021 which was issued in public domain for feedback and suggestions from professionals working in the field. As a subject matter expert, the author submitted several suggestions to the draft which were later incorporated by IRC and published in the final version. Some of the important suggestions incorporated by IRC are as follows:

i. The definition of the Prohibitory Signs was corrected and the term “having red oblique bar with a red border” was inserted.

ii. IRC proposed four categories of vehicles in “speed limit according to vehicle category” sign which was further corrected and limited to two as per norms of IRC of posting two signs at a particular place. The ambiguity was removed.

iii. For clarity and easier understanding the difference between Parking and Standing was made clear. Separate definitions were included for both the terms in the final manual.

iv. There was an ambiguity in “Parking Restriction Signs” depicted for traffic management at certain places. IRC had used No Standing sign in the visual which was incorrect. This was rectified and appropriate signs were used for the parking restriction signs for different scenarios.

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