Using road safety evidence and "Safety in design" approaches to regulate driver distraction from roadside advertising

Tim Horberry, Michael A. Regan, Jessica Edquist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines possible driver distraction from billboards and other third party roadside advertising - including both electronic/digital and traditional static advertising signage. It considers three conflicting perspectives: road safety evidence produced by the research community; the role of road authorities to develop balanced, defensible and robust guidelines to regulate advertising (often such advertising is also revenue-raising for the authorities); and the role of commercial advertisers and advertising bodies who seek to maximise the exposure of their billboards. Where it exists, the research literature and road safety findings have generally found that such advertising in the road environment has negative safety effects. Despite this, there remains a lack of conclusive research evidence upon which to form comprehensive guidelines or standards about how much distraction from advertising is "safe". Given the lack of both comprehensive research evidence and international regulatory agreement, road authorities may therefore be justified in using the best research information available (albeit incomplete) coupled with engineering judgement and risk management in making decisions about the deployment of roadside advertising. Different guidelines from selected countries around the world are reviewed, and the current and draft guidelines in the Australian State of Queensland are considered as a "safety in design" summary case study. Finally, it is argued here that more independent research to help better inform roadside advertising policy and guidelines is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDriver Distraction and Inattention
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Research and Countermeasures
EditorsMichael A. Regan, John D. Lee, Trent W. Victor
Place of PublicationFarnham UK
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781409425854
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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