Read this report from the U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL.
What's Wrong With Digital Signs?
Brightest object in the driver's field of vision, especially at night - Half mile viewing
Cause inadvertent and instinctual glances that distract the driver
Images rotate every 6 or 8 seconds causing lingering looks to see what’s next
Complex messages often take 5 seconds to comprehend
Common Sense Backed by Studies
How Can it Be Safe for Motorists and Still Be an Effective Advertisement?
Anything that distracts the driver from the forward roadway for more than two seconds significantly increases the chances of crashes and near crashes.
23% of crashes and near-crashes that occur in metropolitan environments are attributable to eyes off the forward roadway greater than two seconds.
Nearly 80% of the crashes and 65% of near crashes were caused by distractions that made the driver look away for up to three seconds.
If the motorist spends enough time to read and comprehend the sign, by definition they have taken their eyes away from the driving task too long
Digital signs are designed to pull drivers’ attention from the roadway, otherwise they are useless as advertising
Drivers already have too much distraction inside and outside the car
Digital signs, because they are especially distracting due to bright light, vibrant color, and image changes or motion, divert attention from official signs that are necessary for the safe operation of the car
WHY are Billboard Companies in a Hurry?
Federal Highway Administration Studies ARE coming
Federal Highway Administration has a multiple phase safety study underway (first phase completion summer 2010)
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is sponsoring preliminary research leading to future investigations
The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences is conducting a human-factors workshop and will manage AASHTO research
Our cities Could be Exposed to Enormous Liability
The Highway Beautification Act requires cash compensation to sign owners of billboards on Interstate and federal-aid highways
Compensation is usually defined as the value of the structure, plus lost revenue, making each digital sign worth millions of dollars
The costs of compensating billboard owners will be enormous even in the course of normal highway widenings and improvements if the signs need to be moved or taken down
Once studies are completed, and if the signs are found to be unsafe in their current configurations, any required changes to sign operations may cost governments millions in compensation payments
Who will be held liable if accidents are influenced by the signs if it is shown that governments knowingly permitted their construction even in the face of pending research or critical safety studies?
Big Business Has Big Studies - Big Surprise
Another classic con trick is to throw enough "important sounding" studies up that the audience then thinks that it "must be true"
The billboard industry sponsored two studies of digital signs in Cleveland conducted by Suzanne E. Lee and Tantala Associates, purporting to show they are safe
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer (8/21/07), Clear Channel claims they paid for the research, although the reports say the Foundation for Outdoor Advertising Research and Education, an arm of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America
The Maryland State Highway Administration commissioned human-factors expert Jerry Wachtel to assess the validity of the studies and prepare a peer-review report.
The Wachtel report found serious problems with Clear Channel's research studies including:
Decisions and assumptions made in support of the research
Review and application of cited literature
Statistical methods, controls, and analysis
Misleading and inconsistent reporting and evidence of bias
Cities who allow Digital Billboards - Violate Highway Beautification Act
Violate the Highway Beautification Act itself
Violate HBA regulations which prohibit “intermittent” lights
Catastrophic Federal Highway Administration memorandum of September 25 ignores law, regulations, existing research, future research, potential financial liabilities, and common sense
FHWA Memorandum can not be used to Justify These Billboards
Violates HBA provisions on off-premise signs
Violates regulatory prohibition on signs with “intermittent” lights
Permits signs before FHWA research completed
Ignores NHTSA findings on two-second distraction threshold
Ignores later costs if signs must be altered or removed
Subverts federal rule-making requirements