Posted in: Commentary,
by Gregg Laskoski on Apr 22, 2014 06:00 AM
The Georgia Department of Transportation is cautioning political candidates and campaigns not to place signs on rights of way. Signs that are found on rights of way will be removed by Georgia DOT maintenance crews. There's an important message here...
Georgia law stipulates that the Department is required to maintain a safe roadway for the traveling public, which includes the immediate removal of any obstruction or hazard that may pose a threat to motorists. Any sign along Georgia’s state routes and interstates must meet safety standards and be permitted by Georgia DOT to be within our right of way.
Typically, the most frequent offenders are signs that advertise yard sales, real estate for sale and/or political candidates placed improperly state property adjacent to our roads. None of those types of signs are allowed and will be removed. Is your state just as diligent?
While it may seem like excessive regulation, believe it or not, these laws are important for your community and your safety.
Most states have laws in place restricting the display of political campaign signs because the politicians whose names appear on them have staffers who behave like sheep; posting their signs extremely close to the opposition. And next thing you know, you've got 15 or 20 signs posted in the same place. Of course none of the staffers are bright enough to recognize that they're contributing to an absurd mess that often obstructs drivers' visibility and sight lines.
And while many may say they're concerned about the community and the environment, their actions tell a different tale. Often these signs remain posted long after the election is over. Yesterday's campaign message becomes tomorrow's litter.
“In the midst of this political season," Georgia DOT makes it very clear what they'll tolerate and what they won't...
Georgia DOT District Maintenance Engineer Bayne Smith says: “As part of our routine maintenance work; the Department will remove ANY and ALL signs from our right of way. Right of way is defined as the strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads or power lines are built and maintained. It is a wise practice to ask the property owner where the right of way line is when you get permission to install your sign on their property.”
Signs that are removed from right of way by Department personnel will be held for a short while and then destroyed. To prevent the loss of signs, do not place signage within the State owned rights of way.
Picking up the tons of trash that litter Georgia’s highways costs the Department of Transportation more than $11 million annually.
Clearly, Georgia's message is a good one for all states. Anyone running for public office who violates such laws should be held accountable. And those in violation should be required --personally-- to clean up the mess.