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New Study Finds Digital Billboards Distract Drivers

January 07, 2013

A study published in a journal called Traffic Injury Prevention found that digital billboards hold a driver’s gaze for longer than other signs on the road.

The study, which was conducted by the Swedish Transport Administration, found that digital signs often take a driver’s eyes off the road for more than two seconds.

The study’s authors said the billboards are brighter, visible from further away and show changing advertisements, thereby holding a driver’s attention for longer.

A similar 2006 study by Virginia Tech for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road for more than two seconds increases the risk of a crash. That study also found 80% of all crashes occurred when the driver was not paying attention within three seconds of the collision occurring.

This new study will be presented during the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 16, 2013, along with two others on the same subject.

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