Approximately 400 people die annually as a result of crashes on West Virginia’s highways. To address the problem, the West Virginia Division of Highways has partnered with the State’s highway safety partners to develop a Strategic Highway Safety Plan to reduce highway related fatalities and injuries. Through coordinated disciplines of engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical services West Virginia has established a goal of “Zero Fatalities…Saving One Life at a Time”. Additional information on West Virginia’s efforts to reduce fatalities on state highways can be found by viewing the West Virginia Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
To help memorialize loved ones killed in vehicular crashes, and remind motorist to drive safely, the Division of Highways has established guidelines to erect and maintain Roadside Memorial Signs. The Roadside Memorial Sign is an official sign that is provided and placed by the Division of Highways, and is installed as close as possible to the site where a fatal motor vehicle crash occurred. The memorial consists of white lettering on a blue background, and contains 1 of 3 messages chosen by the applicant followed by the name of the deceased:
“Please Drive Safely” – available for all victims of highway fatalities
“Please Buckle Up” – available for highway fatalities where victim was not wearing a seat belt.
“Don’t Drink and Drive” – available for victims of a vehicular crash involving alcohol or drugs.
View an example of a Roadside Memorial Sign.
Roadside Memorial Signs may be requested within 3 years following the date of a fatal motor vehicle crash by a member of the immediate family of the victim. Only one sign will be permitted per victim and the sign may memorialize more than one victim. If application is approved, the applicant will be informed in writing of the decision along with an invoice for $200 that compensates the Division for its review of the application, the installation of the roadside memorial sign and its maintenance for a period of 3 years from the date of installation. Upon receipt of the non-refundable payment, the Division shall manufacture and install the sign, and shall notify the applicant in writing when the sign has been installed. The applicant may make a second, optional payment of $200 to extend the display and maintenance of the sign for an additional 3 years. At the end of the initial or renewal period, whichever comes later, the sign will be removed and offered to the applicant.
Please note that Roadside Memorial Signs are not permitted for persons whose wrongful conduct was the proximate cause of the crash. If the Division’s review discloses clear and convincing evidence that the crash resulted from the commission of a serious traffic offense as defined in the West Virginia Code, Section 17C-5-1 et seq., or from the use of a vehicle in the commission of a felony, or from flight from police, the Division will deny the application and inform applicant in writing.
Applications for memorial signs are available by contacting the Traffic Engineering Division at (304) 558-3063, the address below, or by downloading the application form from this site. Please return completed applications to:
Roadside Memorial Sign Program
WVDOH, Traffic Division
Building 5, Room A-550
1900 Kanawha Blvd, E
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0430
For more information on the Legislative Rules governing Roadside Memorials, please click on the following link: Excerpts from West Virginia Code