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Remove distracting roadside billboards, says Drive Smarter

Roadside advertising billboards are posing an unacceptable risk to driver safety and should be removed to cut down on distraction.

Roadside advertising billboards could pose an unacceptable risk

Roadside advertising billboards could pose an unacceptable risk

So says driver training and education provider Drive Smarter as it points out that for such billboards to work effectively, they need to distract drivers – putting safety at risk.

Speaking as another set of large electronic billboards go live on the A40 to the west of London, Drive Smarter operations manager, Graham Griffiths, warned that just a glance at a billboard for one second when driving at 50mph equates to travelling more than 22 metres without taking in any new information ahead. At 60mph, that distance increases to 27 metres.

He added: “Think of what can go wrong on the road while our attention is elsewhere. Have brake lights gone on? Is there a pedestrian stepping out? The road environment around us can change almost instantly, and that’s why we need all our observation and focus on the driving task.

“As a driver we are constantly required to assess risks, predict the behaviour of other road users and make safety decisions based on the information available to us. It is unacceptable for advertisers to increase the risks we face by attempting to lure our eyes – and minds – away from the primary driving task.

“We believe it is vital for safer journeys to minimise all distractions – whether they are outside the car, inside the car or even inside the driver’s mind, and we believe fewer advertising billboards would certainly contribute to a safer road environment.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.