As you drive down highways across the United States you often see memorials, remembrances or tributes to victims of car accidents. The memorials honor the spot where loved ones lost their lives too early and tragically. While the idea of a roadside memorial is a positive and honorable gesture, some roadside memorials present an encumbrance to public safety say public officials. That is why Florida’s neighbor to the north, Georgia is in the process of removing roadside memorials.
The Georgia Department of Transportation will begin taking down roadside memorials and will replace the privately constructed memorials with signs created by the state that bear the name of a deceased loved one and the words “Drive Safely, In Memory.” The signs issued by the Georgia Department of Transportation are 15 inches in size and oval. Family members who wish to replace their own signs will have to pay $100 for the replacement.
The spokesman for the Georgia DOT said that privately constructed signs are illegal under Georgia law. The spokesperson also said the private signs also inhibit highway safety because some signs are extensive and distracting to drivers on the road. Private signs can also impede upkeep of the shoulder area of the road.
The plan to remove private roadside memorials has not gone over well with those who have created remembrances for family members. One mother who lost her 21-year-old daughter to a car accident right before her marriage finds the new policy disrespectful. For three and one half years the mother has tended to the roadside memorial comprised of two crosses. She regularly trims weeds and replaces the wreaths on the memorial.
The mother says the memorial helps her grieve and is a reminder to the public to slow down. Other families and kalamazoo car accident lawyers who have created memorials believe the state’s version is impersonal. The DOT spokesperson says the state will be “sensitive to the losses people have experienced, but we’re going to be diligent in removing them.”