Get a roadside memorial sign
Learn how to have a memorial sign placed in honor of a loved one lost in a traffic incident, and raise awareness of the related traffic safety issue.
Initially focused on driving under the influence (DUI) crashes as part of a grassroots awareness effort by family members, the Roadside Memorial Sign program has since expanded to address several other types of fatal crashes, such as distracted driving and crashes involving bicyclists or pedestrians.
Private memorials are not allowed along state highways due to the safety risks involved to those who wish to place, maintain, or pay respects to a memorial site. This program provides a way to safely memorialize a loved one and raise awareness of others to an important traffic safety issue. Requestors must agree not to visit or hold memorial gatherings at the sign site for the safety of themselves and the traveling public.
Signs are installed in memory of an individual who lost their life in a crash. The sign includes an important safety message and a plaque with the deceased individual's name or the name of the sponsoring family. Safety messages include:
- Please Don't Drink and Drive
- Please Don't Text and Drive
- Please Watch for Bicyclists
Requesting a memorial sign
Memorial signs may only be requested by a family member of the deceased, or a friend with written permission from a family member.
For a DUI Memorial Sign, the driver that caused the collision must have been convicted of vehicular homicide due to DUI (RCW 46.61.520, section 1(a)), or have been fatally injured and shown to be DUI based on toxicology reports.
The requestor is required to pay for the sign, including manufacture and installation by a WSDOT crew. Costs for signs are:
- $500 for freeway on-ramps
- $750 for two lane highways
- $950 for non-freeway multilane highways
If the sign requires replacement, the requestor is required to pay for the replacement sign.
To initiate a request, please contact the program at:
WSDOT - Roadside Memorial Signs
PO Box 37344
Olympia, WA 98504-7344
The request letter should include the following items:
- The name of the deceased and their relationship to the requestor. If the requestor is not an immediate family member, they must include written permission from a family member authorizing the request.
- The date, state highway, and approximate location of the crash.
- The cause of the crash, including details about the use of alcohol or drugs, distraction, etc. A police report can be helpful in providing these details.
- Details about any charges and convictions of drivers found at fault, including whether a driver was found guilty of vehicular homicide (RCW 46.61.520).
- A primary point of contact in case of any follow up questions or additional information is needed.
We will review the details provided and, if approved, respond with an invoice for the sign costs and an agreement letter to be signed by the requestor. This letter is the formal agreement between the requestor and WSDOT for all future interactions regarding the memorial sign.
When the signed letter and payment have been received, the requestor will be provided a copy of the letter, a receipt, and notification that the sign (or signs) has been ordered. Sign fabrication and installation typically takes from 90 to 120 days from the date the order is placed.
Sign placement depends on the type of highway. For freeways, one sign can be installed along the on-ramp nearest to the collision scene, in the same direction of travel that the collision occurred. For all other highways, signs will be placed near the scene of the collision - one for each direction of travel.
Some locations may not be suitable for a memorial sign, generally due to safety concerns for our sign crews or the traveling public, or city/county ordinances that superseded WSDOT policy in a specific location. Every effort will be made to find a suitable location, but there may be cases where it is simply not possible.
County or city roadways
Our jurisdiction does not include county roads or city streets, and we cannot provide signs along those roadway systems. However, some local agencies have adopted similar memorial sign programs, and we can provide contact information for those agencies.