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12/12/2007
Texas DOT Cashes in On Families of Accident Victims
Texas Department of Transportation charges $300 for DUI roadside memorial signs.

DUI memorial sign
The cash-strapped Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will charge accident victim families $300 if they wish to remember their loved ones with a roadside memorial sign. TxDOT announced the kick off of the drunk driving (DUI) accident sign program yesterday. The agency will provide those who pay a blue-and-white sign with the slogan "Don't Drink and Drive" and the name of the victim. The agency will install the sign near the crash site for up to one year.

"So many grieving families will want to honor their loved one's memory in this way because they know that good will come from it," Julie Blasingame said in a TxDOT statement. Blasingame's daughter died in a 2003 accident caused by a drunk driver.

If the family of every victim took advantage of the program, TxDOT would generate $500,000 in annual revenue. Families of victims who died in accidents caused by factors that did not involve alcohol, however, are not eligible for the program. This prevents the proliferation of signs at locations such as toll booths, a frequent location for fatal accidents caused by the unnatural restriction in the free flow of traffic.

If the memorial sign is vandalized or damaged within a year, the families will have to pay another $300 as a "replacement fee." The fees were set by the legislature in a law adopted in May.



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