A new auto accident study had some interesting (and surprising) results in terms of the ability to help drivers become more focused, safer drivers: According to the results, roadside advertising and billboards actually improve motorist driving skills. Specifically, because the majority of distracted driving occurs inside the car, providing the driver with the opportunity to perform a secondary task, i.e. looking up at a billboard, actually takes them away from that distraction and essentially improves their visibility of the road and what’s happening on it.

In order to measure the effects digital billboards had on distracted driving, researchers measured two indicators of distraction that are frequently linked to crashes: drifting within a lane and stopping over the line. They ultimately found that, when digital billboards were switched on, lane drifting was either reduced or unaffected–and stopping over the line was reduced–resulting in no crashes or red light runners because drivers were encouraged to look up from their distractions. In other words, the presence of these billboards may be focusing their lateral attention, reducing visual distractions and improving driving performance.


Urban Planning, Including Road Design, Can Have a Huge Impact

Urban planners can learn a lot from this research, as well as other billboard-related research which demonstrates that billboard messages could effectively reduce both speeding and drunk driving, depending upon the message.

In addition, billboards aren’t alone in being able to reduce distracted driving: According to a study out of Ohio State University, road design modifications can also reduce both the severity and frequency of distracted-related crashes. This isn’t necessarily limited to changes that involve expensive engineering; rather, even just the length of a roadway segment or the number of lanes present can reduce the number of crashes, and roundabouts have a significant effect on reducing the severity of crashes. Other modifications that can frequently help include putting in medians and shoulders with asphalt pavements.

In addition, because distracted driving accidents are more frequent in, for example, work zone areas, the results of each of these studies should be used by urban planners to make these areas safer by putting these simple measures in place.


Contact Our East Providence Auto Accident Attorneys

There is no question that distracted driving is not always just a simple issue of negligent drivers. Indeed, cities and localities can still go a long way in improving traffic safety and road management and reducing crash frequencies and severities. In some auto accident cases, negligence exhibited by a government entity can contribute to the accident, and that entity should be included in an action for negligence.

If you or a loved one has been harmed or killed by a distracted driver here in Rhode Island, contact our experienced East Providence, Rhode Island car accident attorneys today to find out how we can help.