Annual value of the stolen, damaged, destroyed traffic signs, direction panels, direction posts and other traffic signage is about RSD 120 million (ABOUT ONE MILLION EUR) on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
With the average value of the traffic sign or panel annually several thousand traffic signs and direction panels are stolen.
If we take into consideration that the price of overlaying of 1 km of road is approximately about RSD 10 million, it can be concluded that we could rehabilitate 12 km of roads annually for the amount of funds spent for the stolen and damaged traffic signage.
The volume of damage due to stealing or damages of the traffic signage and equipment is multiplied when it is taken into consideration that the above mentioned refers only to the state roads for which the PE “Roads of Serbia” is competent, however it does not refer to municipal (local) roads in the Republic of Serbia and streets in towns and settlements for which towns and municipalities are competent.
We highlight that stealing, removal or damaging of traffic signage and equipment reduces safety and directly impacts the lives of participants in traffic, thus the penalties for such criminal acts should be more rigid!
The main reason for stealing traffic signs is – expensive and easily usable material they are made of:
- Aluminium sheet as the base for traffic sign which has great value on the market of secondary raw material
- Steel pipe with average length of 2.2 m with great value in use, for making fences and other structures and with great market value as secondary raw material.
Apart from stealing traffic signs as the most frequent activity, entire traffic signage and road equipment is subject to stealing, devastation, etc.:
- stealing of entire steel guardrails or certain structural elements (steel beams, box profiles, back strips, etc.),
- stealing of entire wire fences next to the motorway or their components (wire mesh, posts, doors, etc.),
- stealing of manhole covers and gully gratings for the drainage on state roads,
- rupturing and destroying of protective wire fences next to the motorways for the purpose of making illegal accesses onto the motorways,
- a lot of traffic accidents in which traffic signage and road equipment is damaged,
- intentional and arrogant distortion of the symbols on traffic signs,
- shooting of traffic signs by careless hunters,
- graffiti on traffic signs and panels with colours that cannot be removed without damaging the reflective foil on the sign,
- sticking propaganda material on the traffic signs thus reducing their visibility and noticeability, the removal of which also causes the damaging of the reflective foil on the sign,
- stealing of enormous number of PVC poles – direction posts, the milling of which provides the raw material for the production of plastic materials as well as their damaging by agricultural machines (combine harvester, ploughs and other tractor accessories with great width) as well as their destruction when firing the stubble and weeds,
Stealing of traffic signs and equipment, or their deliberate destruction is recorded by the contractors and supervisors of the PE “Roads of Serbia” during the maintenance of roads.
Stolen or damaged traffic sign or piece of equipment must be replaced as soon as possible by the contractor charged to the PE “Roads of Serbia”.
After this, the legal office of the PE “Roads of Serbia” files a report to the Ministry of Interior against NN person with claim and proof of purchasing new signs or pieces of equipment, their value and the value of the performed work.
According to the information we have, in the last 10 years the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, as the only body competent for investigations and finding the committers of the theft and intentional damaging of the traffic signage and equipment, or illegal trade of secondary raw material, solved few reports against NN persons and the submitted claims by the PE “Roads of Serbia”.
We highlight that none of the elements of traffic signage and equipment cannot be found possessed by the traders of waste material if it had not been previously decommissioned (pursuant to the made decision about decommissioning) of the employer and contractor of works for the maintenance of state roads, in our case the PE “Roads of Serbia” and contractor.
Elements of the traffic signage and equipment are specific and easily recognizable (aluminium sheet with reflective foil which is difficult to remove, protective wire fence and poles rarely used on private properties, poles, spacers and guardrail beams used exclusively for public roads, easily recognizable PVC direction posts, etc.).
PE “Roads of Serbia” appeals to all relevant institutions, media and the citizens to get engaged in the action which would help to save capital goods invested in the construction and maintenance of roads in the Republic of Serbia with the purpose to provide unobstructed and safe traffic.