“Television on a stick.”

That’s the name that’s being given to the new face of distracted driving: electronic, digitalized billboards.  In a report by The New York Times, there is a debate going on about whether these state-of-the-art electronic billboards cause car accidents because they are distracting drivers.  Many safety experts say yes, while those who build and advertise these billboards disagree.

Do digital billboards distract drivers more than regular billboards? (Source: NYTimes.com)

For our firm’s San Diego car accident lawyers, anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road for a second is dangerous and can potentially be the factor behind a wrongful death on the road.  In today’s world there are already too many devices calling for the attention of the driver — cellphones, onboard computers, etc. — that driving with this kind of technology is almost as dangerous as driving under the influence (DUI).

Many experts are claiming that having bright lights, vibrant colors, and a message that changes every 6 to 8 seconds puts drivers in the position to not pay attention to the driver in front of them.  This means that there is the potential for more catastrophic injuries, fatalities, and devastating accidents to happen out on our highways and roads.

The Virginia Tech Transporation Institute claims in a 2007 study that digital billboards did not affect motorist behavior any more than regular non-electric billboards.  The study was rejected for publication the following year by the Transporation Research Board when critics discovered that it had been financed by the billboard industry.  Even the project leader was later quoted as saying, “if we don’t study this, and get on top of it right now while the capabilities are expanding, every roadway will be filled with flashing lights and video.”

Still, many in the advertising industry claim that the title of “television on a stick” is simply not true.  For those who care about motorist safety — like our firm’s car accident attorneys — the best insurance policy for these billboards is to shut them off or at the very least have them change message infrequently so as to not draw the attention of driver’s away from the road.  We understand the need to market a business, but it needs to be done at a time when people need not focus on the road and the cars around them.

If you were injured and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney and find out how we can help you.  We look forward to providing good advice for your case.  There is no fee if no recovery.


Do you think that digital billboards distract drivers?  How can you keep yourself from being distracted from these messages while behind the wheel?