Roadside Memorials

 by guest blogger Vickie Sheehan

We’ve all seen them - roadside memorials to honor the loss of a loved one. Flowers, pictures, stuffed animals and crosses - public mementos of grief and sadness.

It’s hard to look at them and think that someone lost their life at that spot on the roadway.

We understand how hard it is to lose a loved one on our highways. We’ve also lost co-workers on our roadways and we know how important a memorial is to honor them and mourn our loss. We also realize (all too well) that the shoulder of a state highway is a very dangerous place to be and placing a memorial on the side of the road is a visual distraction that could cause another heartbreaking crash.
We have embraced a couple of different approaches to requests for memorials from families and friends of those who have died in highway crashes. To minimize the safety and liability risk to the drivers, we encourage live plantings of wild flowers, trees or shrubs as a permanent “living” memorial. Temporary ground-mounted plaques are another option.

To memorialize victims of collisions caused by drunk driving, the DUI Memorial Sign Program was created to place signs along the roadways bearing the victim’s name and the words "Please Don't Drink And Drive". Along non-interstate highways, we place the signs near the scene of the collision. For the Interstate system, we can install one sign along the on ramp nearest to the collision scene. We embraced this program as a way to join together with citizens of this state in the ongoing efforts to combat driving under the influence.

We know what it’s like to lose a loved one on our highways and how hard it is to go through the grieving process. We share the pain and loss and want to help in a way that makes our highways safe for everyone.