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DUI Memorial Signs

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

DUI Memorial Signs

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 6, 2009

Recently I noticed that some flowers were attached to one of the City signposts for the DUI memorial signs on Clay Street at the location where Christopher Foats were struck and killed by a drunk driver.

I was curious as to how the signs had come about and inquired of the City of Woodstock about any ordinance that was adopted for these signs. In response to my inquiry, I received the following reply:

"There is no Ordinance authorizing the installation of these signs and an Ordinance is not required. The signs were installed by the City following the guidelines of an IDOT program for DUI Memorial Signage. Since this is a local street and not a State highway, the City approved and installed the signs."

Presumably, the City Council received a request for the signs and approved their installation by Public Works. It's probably recorded in the Minutes of a City Council meeting; however, these Minutes are not searchable online, as are the Minutes of the Crystal Lake City Council.

Then I began to wonder how long the signs will remain there. Will they be there "forever" or just for a limited period of time?

According to the IDOT DUI Memorial Signage provisions (which don't apply to Clay Street), the DUI Memorial Program rules allow the signs to stay up for a minimum period of 2 years after they are erected. Initially, in 2008, IDOT made a commitment that the signs would stay up for the estimated life span of a sign (7 years). Then the Department determined that this was not practical for maintenance reasons and reinstated the 2 year length. Signs that were applied for (for installation on State-maintained roads) during 2008 will remain up for 7 years, but all other signs will stay up for 2 years as was the original intent of the DUI Memorial Sign Program.

According to IDOT, a recent bill was passed in which a $50 fine will be assessed to DUI convictions for the funding of the DUI Memorial Sign Program. Monies from that fund will become available not only to IDOT, but to all agencies. The bill was only recently passed and it will take some time for the fund to be established and for monies to become available to IDOT and other agencies.

If, after funds become available, an agency chooses to participate in receiving money from that fund, they would be required to use IDOT’s rules for their program, which would mean that signs would stay up for a minimum of 2 years (unless IDOT’s rule is changed). If they decided not to use the fund, they would still be able to apply their own guidelines.

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