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Are LED Display Signs Distracting To Drivers?

LED display signage is designed to be attractive. This is of course the purpose of any form of sign, and of any form of advertising. Advertisers work consistently to attract as much attention as possible to their signs and in many ways aim to be as ‘distracting’ as possible. LED signage in particular is extremely effective at capturing the attention of onlookers, and is known to be an excellent way of communication a message to the general public. Studies have shown however that LED signage is no more distracting to drivers than traditional static signs.

Some local government authorities have raised concerns about the potential dangers of LED signage being placed close to roads. However there are a number of facts that refute this suggestion. Firstly, as mentioned above, studies have already conclusively demonstrated that LED signage does not affect driver concentration any more than other signs. While LED display signs have been shown to make a greater impression upon onlookers, this does not pose a threat to road users.

Secondly, another important point to note is that many road authorities make use of LED signage themselves to communicate with drivers. LED message boards are becoming common sights next to roadways, and are being used to warn road users of various problems and events. For example message boards are used to notify drivers of delays, and to warn them of current or pending road works. They are also used to remind drivers to reduce their speed, or to drive safely. While it would be a great irony for a safety message to in fact pose a threat to drivers, common sense must dictate that signs of this kind would not be used on roadways if they were a danger to road users.

LED display signs are perfectly safe for drivers and passengers on any roadways, especially if set up in such a way as to effectively communicate without demanding or holding attention. The only issues that can arise with signs of this type is in the case of message or video boards which are set to flash repeatedly on and off, or to change color dramatically and quickly. Constantly flashing lights are a distraction to drivers, regardless of whether they are part of a sign or attached to a vehicle. Therefore it is important that any LED signage next to roadways be set to scroll or change at a reasonably slow rate.


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