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Thread: Giant screens and signs on sides of roads - City allowing distracted driving?

  1. #1

    Default Giant screens and signs on sides of roads - City allowing distracted driving?

    Anyone else notice an increase in things being put up on roadways? The biggest distractions are the giant screens that flash ads and videos, and the ones that I can think of off the top of my head are the ones on Calgary Trail and Gateway Blvd, and on 23rd Ave & Rabbit Hill Road.

    The city, and the province, are so concerned about distracted driving, yet they allow these giant ads on the sides of the roads. The giant bright screens are the worst because they show animations and videos, and even when they're showing still ads, there's a white flash in between ads, which is probably done on purpose to get your attention. I can't think of any technical reason why it would have to flash white and not just change ads seamlessly or go black for a second.

    Why is this being allowed? NOT THAT I EVER TEXT OR USE MY GPS WHILE DRIVING! I do not, I have hands-free. But now that we're not even allowed to look at a GPS and press a button on the screen without the risk of getting a ticket, why is it that we can drive around looking at all these ads and videos on the side of the road instead of actually paying attention to the road in front of you?

    If someone got in an accident because they were distracted by a flashing screen, is the city or the advertising company going to compensate you? Because I'm pretty sure if I was running around on the sidewalk waving my arms in the air and shining flashlights at cars, I would get in trouble and be liable for any accidents that I caused because I'm distracting drivers on the road...

    What say you?

  2. #2

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    If a giant sign distract you from driving, maybe you shouldn't be behind a wheel.

  3. #3

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    Some of these screens are very distracting, especially at night. I know we have bylaws that require them to operate at certain levels of illumination and frequency of moving imagery, are they not being followed by the particular signs stated by OP?
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  4. #4

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    Years back they had corporate sponsored flower beds with company logos on Whitemud medians and they removed them, stating that they were too distracting.

    Then they approved those huge flashing animated billboards and said that they studied them and found that they were NOT distracting.

    Please help me understand that some flowers are more distracting that a 50 ft million candlepower video screen at night???

    I bet the COE is getting bigger tax revenue from these things than flowers.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    If a giant sign distract you from driving, maybe you shouldn't be behind a wheel.
    It doesn't distract me, it's just annoying and ugly. I just think it's hypocritical of the city to go after drivers for being distracted while allowing all these signs everywhere, especially the bright digital screen ones. Like a cop smoking pot while giving you a ticket for smoking pot...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    Some of these screens are very distracting, especially at night. I know we have bylaws that require them to operate at certain levels of illumination and frequency of moving imagery, are they not being followed by the particular signs stated by OP?
    That bylaw came into effect for any NEW signs after the bylaw came into effect, and doesn't affect the existing ones.

  7. #7
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    I called to report a sign on 99th st just north of the Whitemud. The thing was very bright at night, and it flashed due to some defect, which made it extremely distracting. I got a call from the city about it as a follow-up, but I don't know if they've done anything about it.
    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    If a giant sign distract you from driving, maybe you shouldn't be behind a wheel.
    Right, a huge flashing sign is not distracting? Then what is the point of advertizing, to get noticed correct?



    This 1994 billboard ad had to be taken down after drivers were so fascinated by Eva's cleavage that they were crashing into poles, medians and even each other.




    Not distracting???





    Here is an eye catching billboard BUT DON'T LOOK AT IT!



    Meanwhile Alberta PSA's are just as distracting IMHO
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 14-12-2016 at 08:21 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alkeli View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    Some of these screens are very distracting, especially at night. I know we have bylaws that require them to operate at certain levels of illumination and frequency of moving imagery, are they not being followed by the particular signs stated by OP?
    That bylaw came into effect for any NEW signs after the bylaw came into effect, and doesn't affect the existing ones.
    It's time for the grandfathering period to end and the regulations to be tightened up. There should be no video permitted whatsoever and the luminance cap should be reduced (no brighter than an ordinary illuminated billboard), and applied on an instantaneous rather than averaged basis (a bright flash, however brief, should be prohibited).

  10. #10
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    I'm not sure about the research on this however I would think anything that actively draws your eye away from the road would be an issue. We're wired to watch for motion so I would think these boards would lead people to unconsciously look to these boards when driving past them. I have heard reports that at controlled intersections some have led people to start against a red light when the board went a green background. I do know there was one at 111th Avenue and Groat (Westmount Mall) that was removed.

    Personally I dislike the things, particularly the ones that are glaringly bright, however many seem to have found a better balance and are tolerable. Placing them between intersections rather than at intersections and keeping the brightness down.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Years back they had corporate sponsored flower beds with company logos on Whitemud medians and they removed them, stating that they were too distracting.

    Then they approved those huge flashing animated billboards and said that they studied them and found that they were NOT distracting.

    Please help me understand that some flowers are more distracting that a 50 ft million candlepower video screen at night???

    I bet the COE is getting bigger tax revenue from these things than flowers.
    Whitemud near 159th street and at Gateway Boulevard I recall.

    Yeah and that they'd be a distraction is exactly what was said about the flower beds before they were approved and I think you're right that that was also stated upon their removal. The flower bed concept came from a very successful application of it along Ontario's 401 in the early 1990s, (which were all flowers and plants I believe) but here I recall that in year two or three all they did was plant a few token flowers which would die within weeks and then put up little commercial signs - didn't they? It was really a sad if not disingenuous attempt at freeway beautification combined with added commercial value.
    Last edited by KC; 16-12-2016 at 10:19 AM.

  12. #12

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    I think you meant the QEW, not the 401. Those corporately paid flower beds are still an appealing feature on the QEW
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  13. #13
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    IIRC, the flowerbed on Terwillegar bend westbound on the Whitemud was the greatest 'offender'. Seems Edmonton drivers were put in greater danger by having to negotiate a bend in the road at a distraction point. Pfft.

    Yep, for me the big bright screens are a PITA at night.
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