US

Roadside memorials a tricky matter for mourners, officials

  • In a photo taken Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Jersey City, N.J., a woman pushes a stroller near a roadside memorial on Newark Avenue. As roadside memorials to people killed in accidents and fires become more common, officials across the nation are raising their concerns. They want standards set for the makeshift sites, fearing they will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But grieving family and friends want the sites left alone, questioning why government needs to be involved in personal matters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    In a photo taken Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Jersey City, N.J., a woman pushes a stroller near a roadside memorial on Newark Avenue. As roadside memorials to people killed in accidents and fires become more common, officials across the nation are raising their concerns. They want standards set for the makeshift sites, fearing they will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But grieving family and friends want the sites left alone, questioning why government needs to be involved in personal matters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)  (The Associated Press)

  • In a photo taken Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J., a roadside memorial for a man killed in a motorcycle accident is seen as a vehicle commutes on Highway 280. As roadside memorials to people killed in accidents and fires become more common, officials across the nation are raising their concerns. They want standards set for the makeshift sites, fearing they will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But grieving family and friends want the sites left alone, questioning why government needs to be involved in personal matters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    In a photo taken Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J., a roadside memorial for a man killed in a motorcycle accident is seen as a vehicle commutes on Highway 280. As roadside memorials to people killed in accidents and fires become more common, officials across the nation are raising their concerns. They want standards set for the makeshift sites, fearing they will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But grieving family and friends want the sites left alone, questioning why government needs to be involved in personal matters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)  (The Associated Press)

  • In a photo taken Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J., a crucifix and other items adorn a fence along Highway 280 at a roadside memorial for a man killed in a motorcycle accident. As roadside memorials to people killed in accidents and fires become more common, officials across the nation are raising their concerns. They want standards set for the makeshift sites, fearing they will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But grieving family and friends want the sites left alone, questioning why government needs to be involved in personal matters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    In a photo taken Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in Harrison, N.J., a crucifix and other items adorn a fence along Highway 280 at a roadside memorial for a man killed in a motorcycle accident. As roadside memorials to people killed in accidents and fires become more common, officials across the nation are raising their concerns. They want standards set for the makeshift sites, fearing they will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But grieving family and friends want the sites left alone, questioning why government needs to be involved in personal matters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)  (The Associated Press)

A move to regulate roadside memorials can be fraught with peril for elected officials.

They cite the need to set standards for the makeshift sites that appear after people are killed in crashes, fearing the memorials will become eyesores or traffic hazards. But they also have to balance those public concerns with sensitivity for those dealing with a loss.

New Jersey is the latest state to consider regulations for memorials. A bill making its way through the state legislature would allow a victim's relative to pay for a sign honoring the person who died and set certain specifications for the markers.

Some residents have questioned the move, saying this is a personal issue that government leaders should stay away from, unless there are overwhelming public safety concerns.