We have all seen them as we are flying down the highway; makeshift memorials to those whose lives have been lost tragically in automobile or motorcycle accidents. Often they are crosses standing silently on the side of roads, sometimes they are a bouquet of flowers or a home made memorial left behind to mark the spot where a loved one passed away. But one thing most of these memorials have in common, they are generally illegal according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

ODOT workers will quite frequently allow the memorials to remain until it comes to a point where they are forced to try and work around them. At this point, the memorials violate the state law regarding “right of way”, that belongs to the state and workers are then obligated by law to remove the obstacle. ODOT explains that "right of way" is defined as the land surrounding the highway, and legally it extends all the way to the fence.

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Besides the "right of way" factor, ODOT representatives also point out that the memorials can be distracting to motorists.Things placed on the side of roads can distract drivers and at times have been the cause of accidents, and can be even more hazardous if hit by a motorist. A large hazard is that often times, people pull off the road to visit the memorial, putting them in danger of the traffic that surrounds them.

ODOT representatives recommend that if you must leave a memorial, to keep items small, something that if it becomes dislodged, either by weather or being struck, will not become a hazard to passing motorists. Also, to place the item as far away from the roadway as the area will allow, keeping it as close to the fencing as possible. They also recommend that if you are visiting the site of a memorial, to stay as far away from the road as possible and to pick a time to visit where traffic isn't as heavy.

If a memorial is removed by ODOT, the items are generally reclaimable by simply contacting the nearest ODOT office.

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source: KSWO news