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Motorist Comprehension of the Slow–Moving Vehicle (SMV) Emblem

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

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 9(2):159-169 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13005) @2003
Authors:   P. M. Garvey
Keywords:   Comprehension, Emblem, Slow–moving vehicle, SMV, Symbol, Understanding.

While attaining widespread use and institutional acceptance in its 40 years on the road, crash data indicate that the slowmoving vehicle (SMV) emblem may not be meeting the safety needs of either the motoring public or SMV operators. This article addresses the possibility that the reasons for this include its inconsistent day/night appearance, potential confusion with other roadway symbols, its uncontrolled misuse, and poor driver education. This study is also the first to systematically evaluate the SMV emblems comprehensibility by the general motoring public. Over 100 male and female drivers from 18 to 84 years of age gave openended responses to the presentation of a scale model SMV emblem displayed in its daytime and nighttime appearance. While the older drivers understood the meaning of the emblem better than their younger counterparts, overall emblem comprehension was still under 30%.

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