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Is it time to get rid of the roadside memorial law in NJ for good?

The Pacific Highway's Roadside Memorials
Getty Images

Although it’s technically against the law to erect a roadside memorial to someone who has lost his or her life in a car accident, the law is rarely enforced.

And there’s a reason for that – they’re not really that big of a deal.

That’s why instead of enacting a stronger law, against these makeshift memorials, I would suggest that we get rid of the law entirely.

A new law that is proposed by Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, would require people to apply for a permit to put up a roadside memorial. And not only a permit, but they would have to provide all kinds of information regarding the date and location of the accident, the name of the deceased etc.

What a Jersey lawmaker wants to do about dangerous roadside memorials

Usually these memorials are erected in a state of abject sorrow and shock so for these people to have the presence of mind to fill out these forms would be pretty highly unlikely. Obviously, this is just a ruse to make these people jump through hoops and eventually just discourage them from placing the memorial at all.

To me, this is just more government regulation and unnecessary bureaucracy. The argument, I suppose (although it’s kind of hard to tell) is that these memorials can pose some sort of danger to passing motorists because they are a distraction and are therefore dangerous.

I haven’t seen any statistics that would actually prove to me that this is the case. While I have myself have turned to glance for a moment at a roadside memorial, I’ve never found it any more distracting than a squirrel darting out of traffic, a branch falling on the side of the road or large piece of refuse or roadkill.

I’m never one to be swayed away from the necessity of a law just because there is intense emotion attached to it, so if I thought these things were truly dangerous, I’d be an advocate. But the fact is that anyone who is so distracted by one of these memorials that they cannot drive safely shouldn’t be on the road to begin with.

You’ve seen them. They’re generally a sign (or a few of them) or a cluster of flowers (or a few of them). You may glance over for a second,  but not any longer than you would to closely inspect.

A few beer cans or a garbage bag littering the highway. As a matter of fact, I have actually never seen one of these memorials that was so huge and cumbersome as to distract anyone.

This is another example of New Jersey lawmakers having not enough to do with their time. Do you agree with this? Take our poll below:

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