Hampton offers roadside signs to memorialize those killed in traffic accidents

Reminders of the perils of traffic accidents may soon start cropping up on city streets around Hampton.

The city has started a program that gives families of those killed in car crashes the option of purchasing a memorial to their family member in the form of a square black-and-white traffic sign.

The 2-foot by 2-foot signs will read “Drive safely in memory of” along with the name of the deceased.

Signs will be placed as close to the accident site as possible, given traffic and safety concerns, the release said. They’ll be put in the city’s right of way, but only with permission of both the family of the deceased and adjacent property owners.

According to a release announcing the program, the city wants to give people an opportunity for remembrance while keeping things safe for drivers.

Occasionally, makeshift memorials comprised of balloons, crosses, condolence cards and stuffed animals can be seen around the city as a memorial for victims of accidents or violence. For instance, a memorial made up of artificial flowers, a cross and a weathered teddy bear sits tethered to a sign in front of the Hampton Roads Transit station the corner of Pembroke Avenue and King Street, across from the brand new Circuit Courthouse.

According to city spokesman Fred Gaskins, these kinds of memorials that result from outpourings of grief from family and friends can also cause problems for those on the road.

“You drive by these memorials and you see these on the side of the road and depending on what they are and what they look like, it can be distracting,” Gaskins said. “We’re trying to come up with something a little more uniform that won’t be as distracting as some of those makeshift memorials can be.”

Gaskins said the city is also looking to put similar signage in place for homicide victims, though he said the city is still working out the wording on those signs.

Both types of sign will cost $425 and will stand for a year before being returned to the family. The signs will become available starting on July 1.

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