But what about in cases where no cross-traffic was visible? Would people still stop? A 1968 study in Berkeley, Calif., published in Law & Society Review, found that just 14 percent of drivers brought their cars to a full stop "without being forced to do so by cross traffic" (the so-called "California roll" was the norm).
No one has more doggedly pursued the question of stop-sign compliance than John Trinkaus, who conducted an annual stopping survey at the same intersection for nine straight years in the 1970s and '80s, finding a creeping decline. In his culminating 1997 masterwork, "Stop Sign Compliance: A Final Look," Trinkaus revisits his old intersection and finds that the percentage of people making a full stop had dropped from 37 percent in 1979 to a mere 3 percent.So, I am not the only @#$# who does this. I think I have gotten worse since Montreal seems to spread around stop signs like they are putting Parmesan cheese on pasta. The more signs there are at intersections where they are not really needed, the less respect I think they get. And my intuition, like my bad driving habits, is widely shared: "traffic engineers have long known that excessive signage declines in effectiveness.... the more signs installed, the lower the compliance. "