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Sign Posters Beware

Roadside advertising now brings a fine of $25 a sign

Winterizing! We come to your boat! must not have heard. Free advertising space is no longer free. Starting October 1, invasive signs posted along Maryland state highways were not only illegal but also fineable. Starting January 1, posters of invasive signs face a fine of $25 for each sign
    The targeted signs are mostly commercial ones, said Valerie Burnette Edgar of the State Highway Administration.
    “Placing signs in our right-of-way is not permissible,” said Edgar. “It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and resources to go out to collect them.” Last year’s tab was about $600,000, Edgar said.
    The fine holds for every one of the 17,000 miles of the Maryland’s state highways, including numbered routes and U.S. interstates. The illegal zone includes public property up to 500 feet from the roads plus all medians. State and county authorities can issue the warnings and levy the fines.
    The signs impede mowing, clog drains and spoil the view. Placing them can also be risky business, Edgar said. “Whoever is placing them is stopping on the inside shoulders, if there even is a shoulder, to put them out there.”
    Some signs get a free pass. Typically those are temporary signs that advertise church and county fairs, fresh fruits and local vegetables, as well as open house signs and political campaign signs.