You've seen the mini memorials to drunk driving victims on the sides of the road, at intersections, in a roundabout and some more permanent markers dotting the landscape reminding motorists of a drunk driving victim. Kennewick is taking it one step further by permanently installing markers on streets where loved ones were lost due to drunk driving.

Our news partners at nbcrightnow.com feature a piece on Leo Birrueta who was killed by a drunk driver at the intersection of Edison St. and Clearwater Ave. It's been almost a year, but a permanent marker now stands where he lost his life. A sad, but hopeful reminder that maybe someone might see the sign and choose to not drink and drive. Between two to five fatalities have occurred in the City of Kennewick each of the last few years

The City of Kennewick offers the Roadside Memorial Sign Program. The program was created as a compromise between the conflicting interests of meeting the emotional needs of those who have lost family members in crashes, and the Public Works Department’s responsibility to maintain a safe roadway system.

The purpose of the Memorial Sign Program is to:

  • Provide families of persons fatally injured in crashes with a way to sponsor a memorial sign to be erected near the scene of the crash;
  • Ensure that memorial signs are located and installed in a safe and consistent manner; and
  • Increase the public’s awareness of the need to drive safely.

The signs serve as stark reminders to motorists and their passengers of the responsibility shared by everyone to drive safely and sober. This program addresses both drunk driving as well as other main causes of roadway fatalities as described in the policy.

The program specifics are detailed in the complete policy, along with sign schematics and the sign permit application.