RESEARCH - Electronic Billboards and Distracted Driving

Electronic BillboardThe city of Sao Paulo, Brazil might have one answer to the problem of distracted driving, a complete ban on outdoor advertising. Research shows two things: drivers not focused on the task of driving are hazardous and electronic billboards draw a driver's attention through more and longer glances. Just how dangerous this might be appears to be a very complicated task because of the number of variables involved. The conclusions of the following reports indicate that lateral control of the vehicle is affected and drivers can be distracted for a dangerous period of time.

Links:

Comments

Distracted driving

While all of our efforts to curb distracted driving may be well intentioned, it really is meaningless. Now don't explode on me here. Let's look at a few issues:

First of all, when the Ministry of Transportation did studies about the level of distraction caused by cell phone usage, their own studies showed NO DIFFERENCE between hand held and hands free. (And this was before texting was common.) Yet the legislation said one was ok, the other not. In addition, certain drivers (police, fire, etc.) were exempt. Do these people have some superhuman powers that we don't know about?

Our vehicles are being built with more and more electronic gagetery that demand our attention, yet we accept this as normal. It would be a reasonably simple issue to freeze all the controls and jam our cell phones while the vehicle is moving. But no .... that's not an option. Is it the auto manufacturers' intent to sell more cars if we survive the crash?  It would seem so.

Of course the legislation is fixated on electronic gagets, alcohol and now drugs.  How about dining, grooming, tending kids in the back seat, conversations and just plain day dreaming?  All of these are deadly .... but ignored.

Perhaps the salvation will be the autonomous car which, while it may fail, the failure rate will be far less than human failures. The airline industry has proven that. But how many police, insurance, body shops, taxies, car sales etc. etc. people will be out of work? I'm so glad that at my age, I won't be here to see it.

Phone distraction

I'm pleased to see somebody else who recalls this:

First of all, when the Ministry of Transportation did studies about the level of distraction caused by cell phone usage, their own studies showed NO DIFFERENCE between hand held and hands free. (And this was before texting was common.) Yet the legislation said one was ok, the other not.

This never made sense, for two reasons.

Firstly, and obviously, if there is no difference between hand held and hands free, then creating a law that bans one but allows the other is absurd. I blame Kash Heed.

But secondly, how did they reach that conclusion? It just doesn't make sense that there's no difference, if you think about it; the task load on the driver using a hand-held phone is obviously higher, much more active engagement rather than passive.

Of course the legislation is fixated on electronic gagets, alcohol and now drugs.  How about dining, grooming, tending kids in the back seat, conversations and just plain day dreaming?  All of these are deadly .... but ignored.

 Too right! We need far more policing of the day-dreamers! (Sorry man, I was feeling facetious ... )

 

Electronic signs

Wondering if the new electronic speed signs are a distraction or just another message ignored by drivers who are in a hurry. 

Effective

I hope you'll find this illuminating.

There are significant differences between electronic advertising billboards and electronic speed signs, such as those in the linked article.

Advertising billboards may be an eyesore, but they're not interactive, their message is constant even if switching between messages about whatever they're trying to sell. Drivers will choose what they look at in the landscape, be it a Tim Horton's advertisement, a Highway Sign, or a Jogger on the sidewalk.

The Speed Reader signs (see the linked article above) are clever, because they are only triggered by the speed of an approaching vehicle, and then only if it's too high. The whole idea is that they make speedy drivers aware of their speed - an absolute necessity if the goal is to get them to slow down.

Here in the City of Vancouver, we're seeing increasing use of interactive pedestrian-activated crosswalk lights, and about time, too!

If a pedestrian pushes a button, which results in a 'Walk' signal (the snowman fella) and they then decide to walk because it's their 'right' to do so well they're pretty stupid. Being dead right doesn't help if you're dead. But if a pedestrian activates a signal - such as a flashing amber light facing drivers - then it's incumbent on that pedestrian to make certain it has been seen, and that drivers are reacting to it by giving right of way.

The human eye, 'wired' as it is to the human mind, reacts to - investigates - light or movement. That's why your car's turn signals flash, it's why your brake lights are brighter than your tail lights, it's why flaggers in a cone zone will move their Stop/Slow paddles up and down - because it attracts attention. The mind then processes and reacts to the input.

If the goal is to reduce injuries and deaths, then whether or not drivers are adhering strictly to the letter of the law regarding the speed limit isn't nearly as important as making them aware of how fast they are actually driving, or what new hazards are presenting themselves ahead.

It's this kind of thinking that is more than ever necessary on the part of the authorities. Incredibly, we now see large numbers of apparently intelligent human beings willing to step into a crosswalk with only a glance to confirm the 'snowman' is telling them it's 'OK', their focus otherwise consumed by their cell phones.

And yet, from what I've been able to determine from such statistics as we have available, something like 50% of the traffic deaths in this province are pedestrians; often as not in marked crosswalks.

Phil

Thanks Tim,

Those flashing speed signs meant to educate drivers within municipalities do work. However the same electonic signs mean little to some travelling on high way 19. I suppose these are the drivers than need some higher level of intervention or education. I'm wondering why the reluctance to use technology to follow up on those who don't respect signage-standard or electronic?

Yes -the cross walk lights are good.Can you recall a public safety message on using crosswalks and pedestrian deaths? There have been significant campaigns on motorcycle safety, but pedestrains receive no attention-it seems.

Public education does work.I have not seen in the past,so many vehicles pulling over to talk on their phones.Distracted driving hazards and penalties have had much coverage- newspaper, TV adds, Radio. There needs to be much more communication from ICBC on the road safety issues-including pedestrians. More die walking than on motorcyle..

 

Good point.

 

Yes -the cross walk lights are good.Can you recall a public safety message on using crosswalks and pedestrian deaths? There have been significant campaigns on motorcycle safety, but pedestrains receive no attention-it seems.

Public safety messages? Not in a long time, other than those 'Have a word with yourself' posters you see at bus stops.

But otherwise, pedestrian law-breaking receives no attention from the police, and hasn't for decades now, from my observations.

No wonder so many of them occur. I blame the pedestrians - and the authorities, particularly the police. Having laws is pointless, if there is zero enforcement.

Google Ads