“Trafficking, removing traffic signs is not a joke”

Road signs stolen from farm roads to market roads are a problem in Hale County.

Several signs in the county were recently stolen, according to a press release from the Texas Department of Transportation. This has been an issue on FM 400, FM 3183 and other FM roads around the county.

“Serious consequences can arise when panels are removed, knocked over or stolen,” said Heath Bozeman, regional engineer for TxDOT Plainview, in the press release. “People can be seriously injured or killed. Signs simply do not provide road destinations. They communicate important information to travelers, especially those unfamiliar with the area.

Theft, damage or destruction of state property or state traffic control devices (such as road signs) may result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the extent of the damage . Here’s a breakdown:

Class C misdemeanor – damages valued at less than $ 100

Class B mischief – damages assessed between $ 100 and $ 750

Class A misdemeanor – damages valued between $ 750 and $ 2,500

State prison crime – damages valued between $ 2,500 and $ 20,000

It should be noted that a class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $ 4,000 and up to one year in prison.

A state prison felony can result in a fine of up to $ 10,000 and between 180 days and 2 years in state prison.

The cost of replacing these signs ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars and depends on the limited funds set aside for road maintenance, according to the press release. It ultimately costs taxpayers money. In Texas, it costs millions each year to replace signs that have been knocked over, damaged by gunfire, and to replace damaged mailbox poles.

“Traffic control devices are essential to safety,” Bozeman said. “Although sometimes viewed as a harmless prank, tampering with or removing any road sign, barricading or obstructing the roadway with construction barrels or other objects can have tragic and fatal results.”

The public is requested to report any signage and / or missing information that could lead to the conviction of those who take or damage the signs.

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