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Motorist Comprehension of the Slow-Moving Vehicle Emblem in Manitoba

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 16(2): 111-125. (doi: 10.13031/2013.29595) @2010
Authors:   A. M. Kroeker, D. D. Mann
Keywords:   Comprehension, Emblem, Slow-moving vehicle, SMV, Symbol, Understanding

Despite the existence of the slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem for almost 50 years, there continues to be a large number of preventable accidents between SMVs and other motorists. In this study, the current SMV emblem was tested against other common road signs as well as alternative slow-moving vehicle emblems to determine motorist comprehension of the signs. An open-ended test method was used to determine the level of comprehension by Manitoba motorists. Written answers from 50 participants were classified as either "correct" or "incorrect" by the authors based on the meaning of the traffic signs provided in a driver's handbook. Only 3 of the 16 Manitoba traffic signs attained the 85% level of comprehension required by ANSI standards. Only 22% of participants correctly identified the current SMV emblem. Two alternatives to the SMV emblem found in the literature, both iconic in nature, were understood to mean "slow-moving vehicle" by only 2% and 8% of participants, respectively. Two alternatives to the SMV developed for this project were evaluated with levels of comprehension of 68% and 84%; however, these levels of comprehension were likely biased by the presence of text. There is insufficient evidence to suggest that the current symbolic SMV emblem should be replaced by an alternative emblem that is iconic in nature.

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