Billboard Safety

From Scenic America:
“Studies show direct link between billboards and crashes”

“Two studies measuring the impacts of billboards on traffic safety draw a direct link between roadside advertising and increases in crashes. The studies were presented at the 2017 conference of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

University of Alabama study on Florida and Alabama digital billboards and traffic safety risks.

Israel Ayalon Highway study on crashes during a ban on billboards and after its subsequent repeal. A study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and funded by U.S. DOT looked at crash rates near digital billboards in Alabama and Florida. The results showed increases of 29% and 25%, respectively, near digital billboard sites compared to nearby road segments without digital billboards. A driving simulation performed as part of the study found that digital billboards drew the visual attention of teen drivers significantly more than that of drivers in other age groups.

A survey conducted in tandem with the study showed that 68% of drivers considered digital billboards to be more distracting than static signs and a majority of respondents agreed on a need for stricter regulations on digital billboards.

Meanwhile, the results of a multi-year study sponsored by the State of Israel’s National Road Safety Authority showed a significant connection between crashes and the presence of roadside advertising on that country’s busy Ayalon Highway. Researchers had an unprecedented opportunity to study crashes during three time periods: while billboards were permitted, then while covered or removed, and finally while uncovered or restored.

When the billboards were covered or removed, researchers noted a reduction in total crashes and those causing injury ranging from 30 to 41%. They found a similarly substantial increase in crashes of 33 to 56% when the billboards were then uncovered or restored. The authors believe that this study is conclusive about the traffic safety dangers posed by billboards in view of the years of data collected along a high-volume, major highway, and the rigorous statistical analyses performed.

The Alabama and Florida results were presented at TRB by Dr. Virginia P. Sisiopiku, Associate Professor of Transportation Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The results from Israel were presented at TRB by David Shinar, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel and former Chief Scientist at the Israel National Roads Authority.”