Have you noticed the new outdoor LED screens erected on roadsides with catchy advertisements on them? It seems that every possible thing is being done to distract the drivers’ attention.
Though, in comparison with traditional paper billboards, advertisement on LED screens is much more productive for the image can be quickly and easily changed and it can serve for advertising several things simultaneously, LED screens increase the potential of driver distraction, especially if they are in particular places.
According to Attraction and Distraction of Attention with Roadside Advertisements, a research document by Nottingham University’s School of Psychology, there is a direct link between distraction due to advertisements and accident liability. In most undemanding driving situations drivers often let their eyes wander to irrelevant objects. It is estimated that drivers’ attention directed to scenery and other irrelevant items vary from 20% or less to 50%.
This reflects the spare attentional capacity that drivers have at any particular moment. It is this spare capacity that roadside advertisements are designed to attract. However, many of them go above and beyond that spare capacity.
Among some of the factors is the wrong placement of the billboard. As you may have noticed most of the LED screens in Yerevan are positioned on intersections (maybe to attract bigger amount of people). But drivers need more concentration when passing intersections or dangerous curves so even a slight distraction may end up with a car accident.
Though LED billboards have been enthusiastically embraced in some places, such as New York’s Times Square, Tokyo and Las Vegas, they’ve been banned in many others.
One may say that this is just absurd and very scrupulous issue, meaning that drivers may be distracted by anything else in the same way as by LED screens, and that it’s the drivers’ responsibility to remain conscious. But sometimes it’s really hard to concentrate especially when a huge “ATTENTION” appears on a screen in front of you.