North Cowichan’s council has asked for staff report on LED highway signs and their impacts on distracted driving. (File photo)

North Cowichan’s council has asked for staff report on LED highway signs and their impacts on distracted driving. (File photo)

LED signs on highway too distracting? N. Cowichan investigating

Studies indicate lights distract drivers, causing crashes

Flashing digital LED signs placed along roadways and their impacts on distracted driving will be the subject of a staff report in North Cowichan.

Council unanimously asked for the report after a presentation by Craig Meredith at the council meeting on Dec. 6.

Meredith reported that he had been blinded by white light coming from a flashing LED sign coming from a car dealership along the Trans Canada highway in North Cowichan.

He suggested the municipality may wish to seek legal advice before approving more digital sign permits and, at the least, consider amending the signage bylaw to include regulations as far as brightness and distraction is concerned.

Meredith said a new study published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention has concluded that digital billboards attract and hold the gazes of drivers for far longer than a threshold that previous studies have shown to be dangerous.

He also pointed out that visual distraction is a contributing factor in 93 per cent of rear-end crashes, and in almost 80 per cent of crashes and 65 per cent of near-crashes, some form of driver inattention was involved within three seconds before the event.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

“A study conducted by researchers at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute found that drivers looked at digital billboards significantly longer than they did at other signs on the same stretch of road, with the digital signs often taking a driver’s eyes off the road for more than two seconds,” Meredith told council.

“The Swedish government had given temporary authorization to erect digital billboards in 2009, but as a result of this and related studies, the government ordered the removal of all digital billboards and many U.S. states have also followed suit.”

Meredith said his concern as a resident of North Cowichan is that the municipality is going to be found jointly liable for allowing digital billboards to distract drivers on highways where people travel more than 90 kilometers an hour.

Coun. Rob Douglas said he defers to the studies Meredith mentioned.

“There appears to be causal relationship between these signs and distracted driving,” he said.

“I would like to see what options we have at the municipal level in a staff report.”

Coun. Tom Walker said the concerns should be taken seriously.

“Things outside of a vehicle can be just as distracting to drivers as things inside the vehicle,” he said.

“When you’re doing 90 kilometres an hour, there’s a lot to keep track of. Light hitting your eyes can be distracting so I’d also like to see a report on this.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read