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Feds Say Yes to Digital Billboards

Date: October 03, 2007



Feds Say Yes to Digital Billboards
Media Post
By Erik Sass
October 3, 2007

In a major victory for outdoor advertisers, the Federal Highway Administration issued a
memorandum last week giving the go-ahead for the installation of digital signage along
the nation's Interstate highways and other federally subsidized roadways.

Coming amid vociferous objections from some municipal governments, which claim
electronic billboards are a safety hazard, the FHWA decision buoys the hopes of outdoor
advertisers that are betting big on digital signage to drive revenue growth.

The key part of the memorandum from the FHWA, a division of the U.S. Department of
Transportation, says that states are entitled to allow installation of signs that "do not
violate a prohibition against 'intermittent' or 'flashing' or 'moving' lights." Federal law
distinguishes between these prohibited types of signage, and changeable signage where
messages are displayed for a certain fixed period of time--lessening the likelihood that
drivers will be distracted.

Based on a survey of existing state and federal laws, the
FHWA suggests that: "Duration of each display is generally between 4 and 10 seconds--
8 seconds is recommended."


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