In an opinion piece filed in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, January 07, 2009, former city councilman argued for regulation of billboards, pointing out that billboards can distract drivers and lead to car accidents.
“California has passed state laws regulating cell phone use and text-messaging while driving because we know such distractions cause car accidents,” he said. “And yet a digital billboard, like the one recently installed in my neighborhood at Silver Lake Boulevard and Effie Street, is undeniably meant to draw a driver’s eyes off the road. It could easily distract a driver at night from noticing pedestrians in a crosswalk, bicycles or turning cars.”
It is not often that you hear about billboards as reasons for car accidents, but our firm’s auto accident lawyers feel that he is on to something here. For example, we would expect to see billboards up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, but not in a neighborhood. And, what is the billboard no only is digitally revealing a distracting image, but also obstructs one’s view of the road?
We have laws against distractions like cell phone usage while driving, and yet there is a conflicting message being thrown out by advertisers that says it is okay to take your eyes off the road if only you look at our product. If using a cellphone while driving and looking at a billboard are like driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and DUI accidents are preventable, then shouldn’t these types of accidents be avoidable as well?
“But no amount of siphoned-off billboard revenues is worth sacrificing public safety,” the official said. We agree with him on this one. He feels that city council needs to limit future expansion of the locations of these billboards and argues that the city should require them to shut down any illumination that might endanger pedestrians, cyclists or drivers.
It would be great if any form of government made decisions that favored people instead of business interests. According to the official, however, these billboard companies donate money to campaigns and the city. That does not sound billboards will be restricted any time soon if that continues.
If the any governing body wants to be serious about limiting distractions to avoid car accidents, our firm’s auto accident lawyers hope that they at least consider the negative effects of billboards on road safety.
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