When automobiles first appeared at the turn of the 20th Century, they frightened horses, confused buggy drivers, and often endangered pedestrians. William Phelps Eno didn’t own a car but he recognized the need for safety and order on the streets and he came up with an idea that has since saved millions of lives as well as annoying legions of drivers – the stop sign. It was first installed in an ironic location – Detroit, Michigan, home of the automotive industry. Eno didn’t stop with the octagonal red sign, he also developed the idea for one-way streets, taxi stands and pedestrian safety islands. (His legacy continues with the Eno Center for Transportation).
The years have passed but the stop sign has stayed basically the same. Not only does it save lives, but it has proven a big revenue generator for local governments as drivers routinely flaunt this traffic control device, as well as its cousin, the automatic traffic light. Below is a state by state listing of the various state laws regarding stop signs, red lights and the newest development, red light cameras.