Legislation proposed by some New Jersey lawmakers would replace roadside memorials for fatal car crash victims with state-approved signs.
The bill that’s awaiting action in the Legislature would require family members to apply to the Department of Transportation for a sign with information about the victim that would be erected at the crash site.
Displays family members put up can be a safety hazard, said Assemblyman Bruce Land.
“We all realize the need to preserve the memory of these people killed on the side of the highways,” said Land, D-Cumberland. “But a lot of times, they throw together these hodgepodge memorials — whether it be a bunch of flowers or memorabilia or things like that.
“We figure if we made it uniform, which some other states are already doing, with the name of the person the date and everything it would be less distracting to drivers going by.”
Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak said the makeshift memorials sometimes take over public property for personal use without approval.
A standardized sign would be better, he said.
“The sign would have all the information that the family would like but it’s a more permanent structure. That way, you’re not having families stopping on the side of the road where it is very dangerous and continuing to put out things for their loved ones,” said Andrzejczak, D-Cape May. “Not only that. For motorists that are driving on the road, it’s going to be an additional sign for them to say, ‘Hey, you know what, this is probably a dangerous area, there’s a memorial on the side of the road.'”