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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Read ‘Em and Drive – Study Finds Electronic Signage Not Distracting to Drivers

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Go ahead and read that electronic sign message along the road.  It probably won’t distract you from the task at hand – driving.  So says a recent study conducted by Texas A&M University on behalf of The Signage Foundation.  

Many local jurisdictions outside of the Harford County and Baltimore County areas have put restrictions on the use of on-premise digital signage, citing the risk of increased traffic accidents.  While we know that a digital signage message is no more distracting than an outdoor billboard, this study validates that knowledge and provides a good basis for decision making in those areas that prohibit electronic signage.  

Due to the novelty of the industry, this is the first study that has actually been able to monitor effects of electronic signage over a period of time, and it concluded that electronic on-premise signage does not cause traffic accidents.  The survey focused on 135 signs in four states over a four-year period.  Using crash data from the Federal Highway Safety Information System, along with before and after data, the study showed no significant change in traffic accidents after the installation of electronic signage.  

Researchers also analyzed single-vehicle and multi-vehicle accidents and found no significant changes.  Additionally, they studied the color, size and types of signs for various businesses and found no correlation between any of these individual factors and an increase in traffic crashes.  Digital signage will continue to grow in popularity as the hardware and software prices continue to become more affordable.  More retailers, banks, restaurants and businesses will realize the benefits of electronic signage and be able to use it to its full advantage, without fear of distracting drivers.


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