Electronic Message Signs Raise Questions of Public Safety - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/7/05

Electronic Message Signs Raise Questions of Public Safety

NewsChannel 11 reveals details behind an item on a city council agenda. Members are expected to agree to suspend issuing permits for electronic signs for a six month period.

Texas Tech has one of the most visible examples of an electronic sign. Lubbock Senior Planner, Randy Henson says such signs can be distracting because many times when you're driving, your attention is likely on the sign and not on the road in front of you.

Federal recommendations indicate signs should not be on busy streets at all. If they are, then messages should to be posted for at least 15 seconds, that way drivers aren't distracted by constantly changing messages.

Henson closely studied about ten signs in question. He says many have conditions with the rate of change. Henson says he's not being anti-business, but he'd rather not have anymore such signs in Lubbock at all because of safety issues. "We have to prioritize and when we put signs versus public safety, then I'm in the opinion public safety needs to win out," said Henson.

He says Texas Tech's sign changes almost every three seconds. However, since Texas Tech is state property, city ordinances don't apply to the school. It's also been pointed out that the same sign hasn't caused any reported accidents since it was put in place.

If city council signs the agreement as planned, organizations can still use signs they currently have, but they'll likely have to comply with anything the city council along with the planning commission puts in place.

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