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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Deaf Child Area Signs

Have you seen a street sign like this where you live? There are several in my town. I've taken photographs of the ones I see regularly. They've raised questions in my mind I wanted to share with you. I'm curious to know more about them, but I don't know who to ask.

This is the oldest sign I've seen. It's located on the same street as the sign pictured above. It's a mystery to me why this sign hasn't been taken down. It's not very visible to drivers in its current condition. I wonder how long it's been there. This sign makes me wonder when/if signs like these are ever taken down. What happens after the child grows up? What happens if the family moves away? Is it up to the family to have them removed?

This photo has not been retouched, I swear. The sign has been allowed to remain in this condition for years even with the obvious misspelling. Do you suppose someone vandalized this sign and rubbed off the letter D? Why has no one replaced the missing letter? How much attention do people pay to these signs anyways?

It's the same with this sign which is located on the opposite side of the street a block down from the one above. It makes me wonder, who pays for these signs? The town or the family? I haven't been able to locate any information on legal requirements for these signs. They are not to be found among the many street signs identified in the Illinois driver's manual.

When we came across this tilted sign while I was taking these photos, my husband put his shoulder to it and straightened it out. It makes me feel like it's up to us rather than the municipality to maintain these signs. Surely police officers and other city workers had driven by this sign and not fixed it.

From what I've read on the internet, there's mixed opinions on the effectiveness of these signs. Based on the sorry state of the ones I've shown here, I wonder who is paying attention to them. What do you think? Are these signs a good idea? If so, who should be responsible for maintaining them?


Jedediah said...

I've seen signs like that (for deaf and blind children) near a school for the blind that also accepts deaf students into their trade school classes. But to my knowledge there's no way to get such a sign as a private person in Germany.
I don't know if they really make people drive more carefully. Judging from the way people drive around that school, the answer is probably no, especially since there are no rules to be enforced, like a speed limit or something.
I did find this website that explains how to get such a sign, at least in Colorado and I've read some online discussions where it was stated that some cities will check every few years if the child is still living in the area.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks, Jedediah.
That's good to know.

Anonymous said...

I know that when I was a child, my mom had to ask the city (not sure who exactly that is) to install a "deaf child sign" in our neighborhood. The city didn't want to, but they compromised by putting a stop sign in the area.

Liz said...

There is nothing like this over here in the uk, so this I found an interesting post. I don't think drivers would observe it, if there was one here.

Tina Childress said...

I found a brochure for Lewisville, TX which outlines the procedure for applying for one...not sure how it works in the lovely (corrupt) City of Chicago. LOL!

PWM said...

Throughout the entire United States; signs that have been errected or posted are commonly put there by the Public Works Department of the city or county in which they are located. In the event the sign is along a roadway that is maintained by the federal or state govornment; then the responsibility for placement and maintenance falls to that entity.

Any traffic sign that is errected by any government agency anywhere in the USA is required to adhere to "universal" colors. GREEN signs provide information regarding route directions and distance. WHITE signs are "regulatory"; meaning you are required by codefied law/regulations/statutes to comply with it; such as in the case of a speed limit sign. RED signs indicate "danger"; danger that is so severe that if you fail to obey it you stand a good chance of killing yourself or others; such as the case with a red "stop" sign. The red sign is (like the white)"regulatory" but unlike the WHITE where you could lose a few dollars for failing to adhere to it; the (as was stated earlier)can cost you your life; which is a penalty far greater than a ticket. BROWN signs provide information of a historical (or commercial tourist trap) nature. YELLOW signs are "cautionary"; meaning that there is SOME possibility of danger to yourself or others if you don't heed the message on the sign. They are not "regulatory" in nature and are really just a strong suggestion to be aware of such things as: "High water in roadway during storms"; "Ice freezes on bridges before street"; "Deer crossing", "Handicappe Area" or "Deaf child crossing".

The reason you saw a white colored "deaf" sign (instead of the now required yellow) is because it was made and errected before all agencies/states were made by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to be consistent/standardized.

As to how to get a "Deaf" (or any other type of sign installed in any certain area) most entities (who lack the foresight or common sense to anticipate the need for one) will install one based on citizen's complaints and or request. On a side note; traffic lights generally aren't installed in rural or otherwise low traffic areas until fatalities and injury statistics are sufficient enough to warrant the expenditure (and they aren't cheap)of purchasing and maintaining a traffic light.

Staunton, VA

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thank you for your informative comment, PWM. I appreciate your taking the time to fill us in on this subject.

Danielle said...

I dont have Deaf Child Area sign but I have an adult sign because people speed down my road since its right off the parkway so after I went deaf i almost got hit by a car. All you do is write a letter to you town stating you are deaf and they put two of them up for me one right by my house on the pole and one down the block. It was very simple to do. 2 weeks later the signs were up. hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

For a time, we lived in an area of homes on linked cul-de-sac streets with only one way in and out. The local county highway department somehow found out about our deaf daughter, and insisted on putting up a yellow-diamond "DEAF CHILD" sign right in front of our house. We protested that she was an actively normal child, wandering around the neighborhood like any other, and that therefore the sign, if they had to put up one, should be at the entrance to our complex. We were ignored, and so the sign went up right on our curb, where it would be too late to alert a driver.

Anonymous said...

I live in crystal falls,mi and have a son that is 8 years old. He has bilateral hearing aids. The bus stop is located 1 block away from our house and the city doesn't plow the sidewalk to that area during the winter therefore we have to walk on the road to get to the bus stop each morning. I have asked the city if they would post a deaf child area sign before and after our house to caution motorists when driving in the area. They have refused to post signs stating that it is not their responsibility to do so. What is so wrong with this request? They post dead end signs to warn motorist that the road ends and that's more important then a deaf child sign. I just don't get it! Does anyone have the answer ? I'm not giving up on this I have ivied in this town for 40 years ad have been a aw abiding citizen /home owner for the past 21 years. What are my rights to having a safer area to live in for y child?

SpeakUp Librarian said...

@ Anonymous,
I am sorry I cannot answer as to your rights, you may need to seek legal representation on that. But I did look online and found a couple sources that might be helpful to you: The first is an official form to request a deaf child area sign: This is a form used by the community of Newport News, Virginia. When I searched for information relevant to Michigan I found the following contact information on this website Traffic Signing, Alonso Uzcategui, Engineer Manager
Phone: 517-335-2624
I also found a county in Michigan's deaf child area sign policy. You can read it here:
I hope that will help you some.
Best wishes,

Sarah Wegley said...

Thank you to Ms. Russell who commented privately. I appreciate knowing about your grandfather!