Digital Billboards, Distracted Drivers

Billboards are designed to capture the driver’s attention. This article discusses the negative consequences of billboards, especially those that employ digital technology. Billboards are irrelevant to the task of driving and are typically placed where driving occasions are challenging. An industry study has shown that drivers take their eyes off the road for two seconds or longer twice as often when they are looking at digital advertising signs than when they are looking at traditional billboards. Those who seek to regulate billboards face stiff opposition by the billboard industry, which claims that digital billboards do not increase the number of crashes and can be useful in providing public service messages. The quick advance of technological innovations is also making it difficult for regulators and planners to get a handle on the problem. The author has identified four factors that could reduce the distraction caused by digital billboards: control the lighting at nighttime; lengthen the dwell time of messages; simplify the message by limiting the number and types of words and symbols; and prohibit message sequencing (i.e, the digital equivalent of Burma Shave-type signs).


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Illustrations; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 25-27
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01344776
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2011 11:05AM