Lawmaker Calls for Temporary Ban on New Electronic Billboards

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, January 19, 2009

Assemblyman Mike Feuer is calling for a moratorium in California on construction or conversion of any new electronic billboards. He says he drives by several near his home in Los Angeles—and the distraction that the changing displays cause is a public safety concern.

“You have to catch yourself to say I’m not driving to look at a digital billboard I’m driving to get to a place safely and redirect your attention to the roadway.

Feuer’s legislation would ban the billboards until 2012.  Some federal studies are expected to be out by then on the level of distraction to drivers.   The bill would also ban advertising on the electronic message signs on freeways—the ones that give Amber Alert information when a child is missing.  The idea to advertise on those has been presented as a way for the state to make money.  Feuer says he’s also put fines in his proposal—billboard companies that violate the ban would pay out 35-hundred dollars a day.