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Outdoor adverts can improve driver performance

8 May 2019

Story from ARRB.

The study, conducted by ARRB on behalf of the Outdoor Media Association (OMA), measured driver behaviour in the presence of two digital billboards in real-world environments.

The study measured vehicle movement at two complex intersections in Queensland – at the Gold Coast and Gladstone.

The intersections were filmed without any signage as well as in the presence of an outdoor digital billboard several times over a 24-hour period for four weeks in order to gauge the effect on safety. Billboards were active for several different dwell times, from eight to 30 seconds.

Researchers analysed two key indicators of distraction known to increase the chances of an accident – lane drift and stopping over the line at an intersection.

The research found lane drift was unaffected or results improved when signage was displayed. In addition, not stopping correctly by stopping over the line improved in all but one case. No crashes were recorded.

“This study showed it is sometimes possible for a digital sign at an intersection to operate with no negative impact on driver performance and, in some cases, to improve it,” said ARBB principal researcher Dr Paul Roberts.

Charmaine Moldrich, the CEO of OMA which represents Australia’s outdoor media display companies, said the industry was committed to ensuring its signs were safe.

“We were already confident that well-designed digital out-of-home advertising were safe, but we were surprised to learn that our signs can actually help improve driver performance, probably because they encourage drivers to look up from in-car distractions,” she said.

You can find further details on the study here.