Some drivers call billboards digital distractions - FOX Carolina 21

Some drivers call billboards digital distractions

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One of the Greenville's digital billboards located at Woodruff Road and Verdae Boulevard. (Feb. 5, 2013/FOX Carolina) One of the Greenville's digital billboards located at Woodruff Road and Verdae Boulevard. (Feb. 5, 2013/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

If you drive around Greenville, then you've probably seen digital billboards.

The ads switch every six seconds and are designed to catch a driver's attention. And some drivers said at night, the boards are more noticeable.

"It's just hard not to look at something that's big and bright like that," Chris Caldwell said.

He said he often sees them while driving.

"It's kind of like texting and driving actually. You're reading that instead of watching the road," Caldwell said.

The Greenville City Council recently decided to turn six paper billboards into digital ones. But, James McAlister calls them digital distractions.

"And I think the ones that change advertisements during a certain period of time are even more distracting," McAlister said.

On Tuesday, a FOX Carolina crew drove around Greenville and found digital billboards on Laurens Road, East North Street and at the intersection of Woodruff Road and Verdae Boulevard. McAlister thinks the one at Woodruff Road is too bright.

"If they could tone them down just a little bit I could still see it," he said.

FOX Carolina talked to Ron McKinney, the city of Greenville's attorney, about the digital signs.

"The purpose is to avoid excessive intensity of lighting that might disturb residents. We want proper balance to preserve living and working conditions. So, we're keeping track of what's working and will review what's not," McKinney said.

And while the council continues to monitor the boards, Doug Kopscik said he likes to look at them too.

"It's interesting to me," Kopscik said.

He said he doesn't think they're distracting at all.

"More than anything, I'm kind of interested by them because I grew up in an era where they were paper," Kopscik said.

McKinney said the city has an agreement with the billboard company Fairway, to turn off digital signs in the city at midnight. He said they also try to make sure that the boards aren't facing any neighborhoods, but are located in commercial corridors.

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