New laws needed to regulate electronic signs
It's new frontier for sign codes and zoning enforcement.
Attorney Susan Trevarthan says some communities have ushered in digital billboards without a fight — simply wanting to have the latest sign technology.
» Require a "fail-safe" system, in the event of failure: "What happens if there's a malfunction? You want to make sure the screen goes to black and not to white."
Plan for emergencies: Digital signs require a significant amount of electricity. In the event of an energy brown-out, for instance, mandate the signs will go dark.
» Limit motion: Governments can't dictate the content of the messages, but they can specify the display method, size and other time, place and manner regulations. Regulators can prohibit flashing, blinking and animated signs as well as interactive signs and message sequencing.
» Transition times: Set minimum "dwell" times so drivers will see no more than one message change while passing the sign.
» Distance matters: Set distance and spacing requirements from roadway curves, hills, interchanges, official signs and other digital signs.