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Research Reports

MRR 197: Exposure And Perception On Distraction Towards Roadside Digital Advertisements

Taking your eyes off the roads while driving, especially at high speed, to look at roadside advertisements is likely to contribute to road accidents. Distractions can emerge from the environment including roadside advertising billboards which pose a risk to road safety. Evidence that roadside advertising brings potential risk is on the rise, with advertisement billboards estimated to be responsible for up to 10% of all road traffic accidents. As the nature of advertising is dynamic, there have been requests from industry players to place digital panels at unusual locations along the roadside as well as LED panels on lamp pillars along highways. Roadside advertisements in nature are usually designed to attract the attention of the viewer, but the potential distraction threat to road safety is often neglected by the advertisement industry players. It is important to understand the exposure and the perception of the drivers towards the roadside digital advertising. This study is important as such effort is primary in Malaysia and may lead to many in-depth studies in near future. There is growing concern that roadside advertising presents a real risk to driving safety. This study uses a cross-sectional study design. The questionnaire sections consist of demography, exposure to roadside digital advertising and perception towards it. The exposure section had two items, and there are 28 items in the last section that measures the perception of the drivers. A total of thirty-four respondents took part in the study. That most exposed digital screen panels were light box digital screen panels. The perception of the drivers towards the digital screen panels is found to be mixed. The brightness of the panels is found to be distractingly bright especially at the night, and the relevant authorities must regulate it in order to make it more adaptable to the surrounding. The content was difficult to read from a distance especially at high travelling speed. The visual clutter of digital screen panels seems to be obvious and poses a risk of being distracted, especially at night. The placement of digital screen panels along the roadside also contributes to the distraction of the drivers. The digital content seems to be more ‘tempting’ than the  conventional advertising content. The charm of the videos and animation with special  effects in digital advertisements received negative safety impression. Digital screen panels near the signalised intersection should not display colours similar to that of traffic light signals. This could confuse the drivers approaching the intersection. Digital advertising is the way forward in the advertising industry but could be distractive for road users. Implementation of roadside digital advertising should be carried out with cautious to ensure the safety of the road users. 

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