Digital Billboards Provide Further Distraction for Drivers

Mar 11, 2010

Advocates for the elimination of distracted driving are now claiming that digital billboards are a major source of road distraction.

These next-generation billboards flash images that change every 6-8 seconds, and allow advertisers to display timely messages such as restaurant specials around lunchtime or coffee ads in the morning.  They are brighter than typical billboards and are generally more attention-grabbing.

The makers and operators of digital billboards are quick to point out (and rightfully so) that there is no research to indicate that these screens cause crashes, and that the signs do not use movies or animations that would distract drivers.

But critics of the boards think that the bright screens and ever-changing images can be distracting. 

“You can turn off your phone,” said Abbey Dart, executive director of Scenic Michigan, an organization attempting to block the construction of such billboard in the state. “The billboard gets your attention whether you want to give it or not.”

The Federal Highway Administration is in the midst of a study using eye-tracking devices in cars to see if drivers are really more distracted by digital billboards.  The study should be completed this summer.

Make sure your drivers know to keep their eyes on the road and avoid driving distractions altogether. 

Photo courtesy of geocam20000 under the Creative Commons License