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Readers' forum: Billboards distract

Published: Thursday, Feb. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

The corporate logo for Zynga, center, is shown on an electronic billboard at the Nasdaq MarketSite, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in New York. Stock in the San Francisco company began trading at Nasdaq, Friday following its IPO. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Mark Lennihan, AP

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This letter is in reference to HB87, the issue of allowing more electronic billboards in our great state.

I noticed in recent news reports that one of the safety factors being debated is how long a driver glances at an electronic billboard and how that connects with driving safely. Or, in other words, how long a driver takes their eyes off the road to read the message being advertised.

However, when I drive along the I-15 corridor (especially after sunset), it's often all I can do to see the road ahead of me because of the brightness and the flashing of certain ads on those electronic billboards. I understand their business value, especially in our slowly recovering economy. But, speaking as a driver, I feel less safe just trying to ignore what appears to be a large, persistent and extremely bright strobe light up ahead. It confuses me and it takes a lot of extra concentration on my part not to get distracted or blinded as I approach them.

The safety factor isn't just about those who want to read the billboards, but also about those of us who are trying to be safe drivers and keep our eyes on the road, just as we're taught to do in drivers education.

I therefore ask that our elected representatives consider this safety factor as they continue to debate this issue in the Legislature.

James Hofheins

Salt Lake City

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