Another Traffic Study On the Same Old Question

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

We’ve lost track of the number of traffic studies that have been done on whether digital signage or digital out-of-home media causes traffic accidents (They all say no.), yet governments are continually asking suppliers for proof on same or even using the argument that they do to prohibit erection of a product.

isa_logo2In fact, we often get asked for directions to such studies. Well, for those looking for such information, here’s a new one: The installation of on-premise electronic message centers does not result in an increase in traffic accidents, according to a new study conducted at Texas A&M University on behalf of The Signage Foundation Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia.

The study covered 135 signs in four states over the span of four years, and used crash/accident data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Safety Information System database. The study, Statistical Analysis of the Relationship between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety, included on-premise signs installed in 2006 and 2007 in California, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.

By including only those signs erected during that time frame, researchers had a significant amount of data in the period before and after the signs’ installations. The four states were chosen because they contribute to the HSIS database.

Researchers found:

  • No statistically significant change in crashes after the installation of on-premise digital signs. The results were consistent in each of the four states.
  • There were no statistically significant differences when comparing single vehicle crashes and those involving multiple vehicles.
  • There was no measurable difference for signs with single or multi-colored EMCs.

“This study provides empirical evidence for what common sense and experience have always told us: that EMCs do not constitute a safety hazard,” says David Hickey, ISA’s vice-president of government relations. “This only adds to the body of research and information available to local officials and community leaders so that they can draft reasonable sign codes based on objective standards and academic research, not personal opinion.”

The complete study can be found on The Signage Foundation website.

ISA has developed numerous resources related to EMCs, helping communities to better understand the technology. Those resources are available at on the ISA website.

The International Sign Association (ISA) is a 2,300-member trade association. Its members are manufacturers, suppliers, and users of on-premise signs and sign products from the 50 United States and 60 countries around the world. ISA supports, promotes, and improves the worldwide sign industry, which employs or directly impacts over 250,000 American workers and more than $49 billion in annual shipments.

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