Thursday, April 14, 2005

Outdoor Electronic Billboard Law and Regulation


Electronic billboard (Digital Signage) installation and the methods of advertisement presentation vary from state to state.

California electronic billboards are restricted from changing displays more often than every four seconds.

In Nevada, full-motion billboards are allowed on the Las Vegas Strip

Georgia forbids electronic billboards that change messages more often than every 10 seconds

Other states set an 8-second minimum between changes.

In Pittsburgh, Council recently passed a law that limits electronic signs to amber text or images on black background. Under that regulation, electronic message boards must be incorporated within traditional signs. They may be no larger than 24 square feet per side, each message must stay in place for at least 15 seconds, and no animation is allowed.

Only four states long ago banned electronic billboards: Maine, Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska

As for safety, the Outdoor Advertising Assn. of America (website) rejects claims that electronic billboards compromise public safety, pointing to a Virginia Tech study that found drivers are not distracted by billboards. The billboard industry, however, paid for the study and carefully avoided any detailed examination of electronic billboards.A much broader study by the Federal Highway Administration's office of real estate services reviewed research on electronic billboards and found mixed evidence about their safety.

A federal study found a widespread lack of understanding of the issue. "Unfortunately, the subject is not well documented," it says. "At this point, it appears there is no effective technique or method appropriate for evaluating the safety effects of electronic billboards on driver attention or distraction."

In a memorandum dated June 12, 1998, the Federal Highway Administration agency ruled: "After careful consideration, we have concluded that such signs using flashing, intermittent or moving lights to display animated or scrolling advertising raise significant highway safety questions because of their potential to be distracting to motorists."

If you are considering a single electronic billboard or a network of billboards, you should first check with your state's current general assembly legislature on electronic signs.

Webpavement has the technology and know-how to help you with your electronic billboard initiatives. We believe up-front due diligence and capital expenditures are worth your effort because the bureaucracy in obtaining the proper permits limit the amount of competition for electronic billboard advertising products.


Anonymous said...

In St. Petersburg Florida, signage ordinances are approved by the city.

On February 24 2005, the City Council will change its sign ordinance to allow large signs on sites of 20 acres or more that have at least 20,000 seats.

The new electronic billboard at Tropicana Field will be 26 feet high and 60 feet wide, about the size of six parking spaces.

The electronic billboard will hover above Interstate 275 and guide motorists and visitors to Tropicana Field and everything that happens inside the domed stadium downtown.

Read the article @

Webpavement Digital Signage said...

Near Pittsburg Pennsylvania USA another electronic digital sign battle is happening.

In January, council passed an ordinance that requires electronic LED signs to display text or images only in amber color on a black background. Electronic signs must be incorporated within a traditional sign and may be no larger than 24 square feet per side. Messages may not run, flash or create distracting movement, and they must stay in place at least 15 seconds before switching to a new message.

A battle is brewing that we'll be following.


Webpavement Digital Signage said...

Be careful where you install outdoor electronic billboards. If you plan to place a billboard with historical meaning, you had better get the public involved prior to installation to see how it will be received.

Here is a story of how a Daktronics electronic billboard offended military veterans.

Webpavement Digital Signage said...

Sign of the times: High tech billboard turns into big flop

Alarias Media Network turned on the $1 million LED sign three years ago to much fanfare about how it would replace traditional billboards along the Highway 99 corridor. They touted how advertisers would leap at the chance to spend $833 a week for 75 messages flashed up per hour for a week since they could have flexibility on changing a message seen by nearly 77,000 motorists per day. Caltrans projects that count will exceed 100,000 by 2010.

Read the story:

Webpavement Digital Signage said...

California Electronic Billboard Regulation

Federal regulators have not undertaken any substantive research on such billboards in recent years, a period of time when displays using light emitting diodes have revolutionized highway displays. In many ways, private businesses and the technology itself are racing ahead of the slow-moving bureaucracy at the Federal Highway Administration.

Few restrictions

There is nothing in federal or state law that regulates the size or clarity of an electronic display. The California Motor Vehicle Code does have a provision (VC 21466.5) that regulates the intensity of lighting from business displays or other sources, though it is so technical that police say they almost never even try to enforce it.

The law says, "The brightness reading of an objectionable light source shall be measured with a 1 1/2 degree photoelectric brightness meter" and that the measured brightness "shall not be more than 1,000 times the minimum measured brightness in the driver's field of view, except …." You can see it takes a PhD in physics to even figure out this law.

Craig's attorney said his billboards fully comply with this rule.

Under his current permit, Craig can use the displays only to advertise stores, products and services at the Citadel. However, he is seeking permission from CalTrans to sell the display space or time to other off-premise advertisers. Under the law, such off-premise advertising is subject to stricter controls than on-premise advertising.

The intent of the rule is to give businesses along roads freedom to put up signs, but limit general types of billboards that are rented out for advertising.

Clearly, the CalTrans decision, which officials say will come in the next 30 to 45 days, will not affect whether there is a billboard.

But it could set a precedent for other businesses that would seek to put up electronic displays that could sell advertising, as well as promote their own products or services.

Webpavement Digital Signage said...

The state of wisconsin legalizes electronic billboards

ssev5 said...

Are there any such laws and regulations for LEd signage in the state of Michigan?

Las Vegas Signage said...

Advertising using digital signage is a form of out-of-home advertising in which content and messages are displayed on digital signs with a common goal of delivering targeted messages to specific locations at specific times.

Anonymous said...

I think ethical and moral values must be part of billboard Law and Regulation and considered very seriously.

LED signs