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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / July 1997

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-SA-97-025
Date: July 1997

The Flashing Stop/Slow Paddle-Time for a Second Look

The flashing stop/slow paddle is one of the most widely used work zone safety products developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). But like any new product, it had some growing pains. Some highway agencies that tried the first models of the device thought the idea was a good one, but the device wasn't durable enough or it otherwise failed to meet their rigorous requirements.

If you're at one of those agencies that tried the first generation of flashing stop/slow paddles, it may be time to give the device a second look. Various models are commercially available from more than a half dozen suppliers, and the manufacturers have improved the devices in response to customer suggestions. The signs are now better able to stand up to rough handling. And the batteries that power the flashing lights now last longer, so they don't have to be recharged or replaced as often.

The flashing paddle is much like conventional stop/slow paddles used by flaggers at work zones, but it is equipped with high-intensity flashing lights that are visible even during the day. When a driver fails to heed the flagger's instructions, the flagger can activate the flashing lights to get the driver's attention. Alerted to the flagger's message, the driver is less likely to cause an accident in the work zone.

For more information on the flashing stop/slow paddle, contact Peter Hatzi at FHWA (phone: 202-366-8036; fax: 202-366-7909; email: peter.hatzi@fhwa.dot.gov).

photo of a flashing stop/slow paddle.

Various models of the flashing stop/slow paddle are available from more than a half dozen vendors.

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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