Digital Billboards Pose Distraction

billboard.jpgA study by Swedish researchers finds that digital billboards divert much attention away from a motorist while driving, increasing accident risks significantly. The study was published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. The scientists at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute found that looking at billboards focused attention away from driving.

Motorists spent more time looking at digital billboards, than other types of signs on the road. Often, these motorists looked at digital billboards for more than 2 seconds while driving.

According to a study conducted in 2006 by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, any activity that takes a person’s attention away from the road for more than 2 seconds at a time is sufficient to cause an accident. Two seconds may seem like an insignificant amount of time, but it can be more than sufficient time to cause a collision.

It is no surprise to Indiana personal injury lawyers that these digital billboards are so distracting to motorists. For one thing, they are huge, and for another, they’re extremely bright and visible. Digital billboards are designed to attract motorist eyeballs, and they work admirably well. These billboards are designed with frequently changing graphics and images to attract motorist attention.

The scientists have concluded that digital billboards have the ability to not just attract motorist attention, but also to keep motorist attention on the billboard for more than a few seconds. What makes these billboards even more dangerous is that they are typically installed near busy, high-traffic areas, where they are more visible to motorists.

Out of the 450,000 billboards currently installed in the country, about 2,000 are digitized. However, the industry has been pushing to increase the number of such digital billboards, and has huge expansion plans. Over the next few years, there are expected to be tens of thousands of such digital billboards dotting our highways. Many of these signs will be situated here in Indiana.

Based on the findings of the study, Indiana car accident lawyers would recommend that state as well as local administrations in Indiana reevaluate the installation of billboards. Many Indiana cities have already acted to ban such billboards. Franklin, Indianapolis, Johnson County, Carmel, Fishers and Shelbyville currently have bans on digital billboards.

More opposition to billboards is coming from the environmental lobby. Scenic America, a conservation group has now filed a lawsuit against electronic billboards on our highways. According to the lawsuit, the organization is asking the courts to overturn the Federal Highway Administration policies that allow digital billboards to be installed on highways.

Environmental groups and conservation lobbies need to work with highway safety groups to push for bans on digital billboards, and to eliminate these unnecessary distractions.

The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in car accidents across Indiana.