Sign Vandalism Is a Costly Safety Issue

Contact: Barbara Seal

Phone: (940) 937-7288

Date: May 30, 2017

CHILDRESS – Stop and think before you remove or vandalize that traffic sign or intentionally run over a delineator. Someone—maybe someone in your family—might die. Sound harsh? It is!

Vandalizing, tampering with or stealing Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) property such as roadway warning and safety devices costs Texas taxpayers millions of dollars annually. Most importantly, it can cause serious injury or death to the traveling public.

Signs are put up for a reason. Major consequences can result from stolen or vandalized signs—lives can be cut short or permanently changed. Signs just don’t provide road designations. They provide important information to travelers, especially those who are unfamiliar with the area.

Delineators are not designed to be run over. If a delineator is intentionally hit or run over, most of the time it has to be replaced and can result in the same charges as tampering or vandalizing state property.

Tampering with any TxDOT property is a Class B Misdemeanor and carries a penalty or fine not to exceed $2,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days or both such fine and confinement. 

However, much stiffer penalties can be handed down in cases where vandalism has resulted in serious injury or death. If someone is killed as a result of a sign being stolen or tampered with, the charge will most likely be manslaughter. This is a second degree felony. If an individual is judged guilty of a felony of the second degree the punishment will be imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 20 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual judged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Safety is the top priority at TxDOT and the basis for planning, building, and maintaining our transportation systems. Let’s all work together to make sure our highways are safe for the traveling public.  


The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods.  Find out more at "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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