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Deadline: December 11, 2016
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Here are four things you should know:
Many jurisdictions have opted for a complete ban on commercial billboards. This is the strongest approach to protecting public spaces and the simplest to enforce. Billboard bans currently exist across the entire states of Maine, Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, as well as cities such as Sao Paulo.
You may have noticed semi-trailers parked on the side of the road, with billboards attached to the side. This is an attempt by the billboard industry to ignore signage regulations. "It's not a billboard... it's a truck!" they say. If the government doesn't crack down soon, you can expect to see hundreds more of these billboard trucks parked on farmland all across Ontario.
The outdoor advertising industry is trying to move away from paper billboards, replacing their old signs with digital screens that are larger and brighter. These LED boards can be seen from miles away and completely dominate the landscape in the evening or on grey cloudy days.
The leading cause of highway fatalities is not alcohol or speeding. The leading cause is driver distraction. Yet highway billboards are designed with the sole purpose of distracting drivers' attention away from the road. Even worse, modern digital billboards flash new ads every ten seconds - more than 8,000 times a day. Recent reports show a direct link between digital billboards and increased traffic accidents.
Ontario's landscape is becoming increasingly obscured and obstructed by billboard blight. Without good government regulations to protect our communities, visual pollution will only grow - like an invasive species.