New Study Finds Link Between LED Billboards and Likelihood of Highway Crashes

Billboard Alley on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway is now lined with giant digital LED boards. They were controversial; Activist Dave Meslin was quoted in Torontoist:

“It’s not rocket science,” Meslin says. “We’ve already banned cellphones in cars. You’re not allowed to watch your own personal TV screens in cars. So why would we install electronic signs on the highway? It’s just a bad idea.”

Now a new Swedish study, Effects of electronic billboards on driver distraction, proves that Dave was right. 41 drivers were fitted with head-mounted eye trackers and equipment that recorded their head movements. Responses to both digital and conventional signs were recorded.

Overall, the electronic billboards attract more visual attention than the other traffic signs included in the study. Dwell times are longer, the visual time sharing intensity is higher, very long single glances are more frequent, and the number of fixations is greater for the electronic billboards. As the information on the electronic billboards changes with regular intervals, the signs have the potential ability to keep up the drivers’ curiosity over an extended period of time.

The researchers note that this is what advertising is designed to do- to get our attention, and that the digital billboards do a far better job of it.

astral sign© Astral Media

I have objected to LED billboards and TVs in toilets as an example of Jevons' Paradox, where the dropping cost and greater efficiency of LED technology has led to more electrical consumption through stupid uses like this. Now we learn that they might be killing us, too. Perhaps it's time for a rethink.

Found on PhysOrg

New Study Finds Link Between LED Billboards and Likelihood of Highway Crashes
Swedish researchers find that drivers look at them more often and for longer times.

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