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Billboards need more attention as a potential distraction

Over the last few years, distracted driving has gotten a lot more attention. Car companies have designed technology specifically made for drivers who aren't paying attention, like automatic braking systems or lane-departure warning systems. People tell you that you should never:

  • Bring your pets in the car
  • Use the GPS
  • Text and drive
  • Talk to your passengers
  • Talk to your kids
  • Look for a new radio station
  • Read a paper map
  • Make a phone call
  • Gawk at accidents

The list goes on and on. The main offense, most people agree, is texting and driving.

That said, there's one thing that has perhaps not gotten enough attention: Billboards. They're a serious distraction, especially because they are designed as distractions. The companies want you to look at them, to take your eyes off of the road, and to read the message.

The saving grace of some other issues is that they're not designed to distract you. A GPS is made to help you find your way. A cellphone, though it should never be used behind the wheel, is just designed for communication. A radio is designed for entertainment and news. You can use these things in a dangerous fashion, but they're not made to be dangerous.

A billboard is. The entire goal is to get you and everyone else to look at the billboard and not the road.

That's a risk that we just can't afford to take. We need to understand this danger, and anyone who gets hurt in an accident with a distracted driver needs to know what legal options they have.

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