Beginning in the 1960s, the then First Lady, Ladybird Johnson pioneered a nationwide effort to reduce sign pollution along the nation’s highways. Ultimately many cities, counties and states across the country enacted strict sign laws to abate sign proliferation and preserve natural and urban vistas free from or with reduced sign pollution, light pollution, and traffic hazards caused by signage blight.
Now, our relatively sign-free environments, created by these reforms over the last 50 years, are eagerly eyed by private interests as a lucrative opportunity to reap huge profits by installing off site advertising on land uncluttered by it for decades.
Government officials should not sacrifice signage-free vistas for speculative financial gain that could create legal loopholes leading to massive increases in outdoor advertising and corresponding degradation of our environment. The safety hazards posed by digital billboards in particular, is reason enough not to allow them. A recent Swedish study concluded digital signs are much more distracting to drivers than previously thought; consequently all such signs in Sweden have been ordered removed.