North’s first law of bureaucracy: “There is no law that will not eventually be enforced by some bureaucrat to the point of insanity.”
A fine example of the universality of this law is the decision by the Alabama Department of Transportation to prohibit a county from placing signs on the highways directing drivers to a local tornado shelter.
The stupidity of this ruling blows me away.
The bureaucrat who made this decision explained why in an email.
The use of shelter directional signs have not yet been approved for installation on state roads . . . the overuse and overcrowding of signs can be a distraction to motorist (sic) and often lead to a disregard or disrespect of necessary regulatory and roadway warning signs. . . . We understand the importance of notifying and guiding the public to storm shelters, but we cannot permit these signs on state routes.
The Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices requires States to develop a comprehensive plane (sic) to address miscellaneous guide signs and their installation on State roads. We limit guide signs, other than the primary destinations (Towns and Cities), to those destinations that a large number of motorists may be looking for. Our State Traffic Engineer has determined these signs are not approved for installation on State roads and has previously denied requests for shelter signs in South Alabama.
Next, there was a manifestation of North’s second law of bureaucracy: “Only two things can change a bureaucracy: a budget cut or bad publicity.”
Fox News reported the decision of the Department of Transportation. Lo and behold, the DoT reversed its dotty decision.
The dotty decision was in response to another dotty decision a year ago. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, decided to tear down all of the tornado shelters in the county’s schools. The county took FEMA to court and won.
Then it put up signs leading to the tornado shelters.