Tired of seeing those bright, digital billboards on the side of the road while driving (especially at night)? Well so is a group called Scenic America that recently filed a lawsuit in an attempt to get the Federal Highway Administration to reverse a 2007 ruling that allowed these billboards to pop up along US roadways since. The advantage of digital billboards is that companies can sell multiple advertisements that change frequently, and it's this part of the billboards that are at the heart of this debate.

According to an article in Ad Week, Scenic America contends that the FHWA (a division of the US Department of Transportation) issued a "guidance memorandum" that circumvented the usual chain of law allowing "intermittent" messages, which was a part of the Highway Beautification Act. On the opposite side of the argument, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America said that digital billboards follow the rules since there is no flashing or animation involved.

What do you think about digital billboards? Let us know in the poll below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 61 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Road spam.
      executive_dan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here in Australia, digital billboards on the highway are majorly used for alerting drivers about roadworks, drink driving and other driving related laws and announcements. I think they should be used like this internationally, but we'll end up having a heap of digital advertising billboards like the rest of the world.
        to your email L
        • 1 Year Ago
        @executive_dan
        Sign companies made that claim in L A but I NEVER saw them used for that, and the city council didn't buy it either. They put restrictions on them that they can't be visible from any residential areas. Doesn't apply tho outside the City Of Los Angeles tho. Besides we have separate signs just for the freeways notifying drivers of traffic conditions or amber alert child abductions AND no adverts.
      ayeco
      • 1 Year Ago
      They are generally too bright. But if that was controlled better then I'd have no more of problem with them than I do a traditional print billboard - which is that i don't really like them, but they are what they are.
      eliotsmeliot
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like them because they keep me from getting distracted by those annoying speed-limit signs.
      Ben Lee
      • 1 Year Ago
      to me the brightest isnt the issue. the issue is the constant changing of the ad itself since its digital. some people stare at the people waiting for it to cycle back to the ad they kind of missed...
      cololx6
      • 1 Year Ago
      "[T]he Outdoor Advertising Association of America said that digital billboards follow the rules since there is no flashing or animation involved." What fantasy world is the Outdoor Advertising Association driving in? Digital billboards moved past "no flashing or animation" long ago.
      Rich
      • 1 Year Ago
      Illegal no, write nasty-mean letters to sign company? Already done!
      behinddawindow
      • 1 Year Ago
      My GPS and phone have a light sensor that tells the system to dim the lighting... It's not that hard...
        Relyat08
        • 1 Year Ago
        @behinddawindow
        Most of these signs have that as well and they already do dim at night.
      Arturo Rios Jr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Its not really that they are digital but there is one advertising events at our local university basketball stadium and I can tell you that the lights are so bright, it makes night into bright day.
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      Billboards are a from of free speech, granted not only in local and state ordinances but also in the Consitiution. It\'s been argued all the way to the Supreme Court. Granted some boards may be over-lit. But they do provide information, direction and some entertainment while driving. And are an integral part of the advertising industry, employing thousands and provide land owners rental income. Is our economy so great that we can afford to dump a lot more people on the welfare rolls by eliminating them? I\'m sure Scenic America wouldn\'t help get them new jobs.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris
        Talking and listening to music are also within our rights but that doesn't give everyone the right to blare their music at all hours of the night and be a nuisance to others. I'm generally in favor of these signs since they're so much more practical than old-style billboards but in inhabited areas I could see cause for brightness limits.
        to your email L
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris
        Excuse me I don't get the free speech part, some one paid to have the billboard put up, or put on an LED billboard........IT'S PAID SPEECH NOT FREE SPEECH and no one is speaking.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      The relentless and constant bombardment of advertising in general is an absolute eye-sore that makes the United States feel tacky and cheap. It is bad enough that I can't get online, listen to the radio, watch TV, or do just about anything without being blasted with advertisements about corn-syrup beverages, feminine hygiene products, penile enlargement, and the latest diarrhea medication. There was a study a little while back that very young children could all identify every major company spokesperson and yet be completely oblivious to the faces of major historic and cultural icons from George Washington to the Mona Lisa. I have strongly supported our local communities efforts to at least abolish obnoxious signage and beautify our commercial sectors with a unified look and abolishment of bright individualized huge signage.
        BRKF06
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        You don't see billboards in nice areas. Drive around La Jolla and count the # of billboards or even 7-11s. Same with Del Mar or Beverly Hills.
      Andre Neves
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yes, they should be ILLEGAL. Not only are they distracting, but they also cause massive glare on your windshield at nigh...especially during bad weather/rain.
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