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MDOT talks about dangers of roadside memorials

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Updated: 7/25/2013 10:28 am
JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- Distracted driving has become one of the biggest threats to motorists and highway workers today.

The mission of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is to promote safety for all people traveling and working on state highways.

In order to provide the safest highway system possible, MDOT is emphasizing the removal and prevention of driving distractions to the traveling public.

While grabbing the attention of motorists traveling at very high speeds, roadside memorials have become a distraction for drivers on Mississippi Highways.

“These memorials not only endanger the distracted driver, they also endanger the person placing the memorial along the highway,” Melinda McGrath, MDOT executive director. “Any area remotely close to a highway can be an extremely dangerous location.”

Did you know the shoulder of a highway is only to be used during emergencies and that blocking any Right of Way is violation of Federal Law?

One step everyone can take to prevent more accidents and potential fatalities from occurring is to stop placing and maintaining memorials and dedications on the Right of Way along state highways.

MDOT is asking everyone to refrain from placing memorials on the side of Mississippi Highways in the Right of Way and has developed procedures for the removal and storage process of existing memorials.

Existing memorials are removed with extreme care by MDOT crews performing mowing operations along highways.

Prior to the removal, pictures are taken of the memorial and locations are documented using landmarks, measurement or a GPS (Global Positioning System).

MDOT employees create a report for each memorial removed to give an accurate county location and to enable them to be mapped with the GPS coordinate.

Locations are provided on lots of the nearest County Office to store the memorials.

These locations are presentable and easy to access for identification.

Family members are allowed to pick up their memorials after they are removed from the highway.

MDOT will store memorials up to three months from when they are removed.

Family members or friends will need to make an appointment to pick up a memorial.

There are several alternatives to highway memorials.

One alternative is the “ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY” program.

You can find more information about this program at http://adoptahighway.net/.

To inquire about a memorial that has been removed, please contact your local MDOT County or District Office.

For more information, call MDOT at 601-359-7074.
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