Billboard Bill Would Allow "Tri-Vision" Multiple Message Ad Signs On Highways Posted: March 6, 2004
Senate Bill 114, approved his week, made the papers because it would allow cutting down of the public's trees if they blocked the view of highway billboards. But when the Transportation Committee heard the bill, not a word of explanation was given to the Committee about "multiple message systems." Yet the bill would end Kentucky's prohibition against these rotating 3-message electronic billboards, which are called "tri-vision", "multi-prism", or in the bill "multiple message boards." Under SB 114, multiple message boards, which rotate three separate message boards every 5 or more seconds, would become legal. Additionally, the way that SB 114 is drafted, these multiple message boards could arguably be placed along highways regardless of local zoning restrictions. Tri-vision boards pose a heightened highway safety concern, since they are designed to and do attract more attention from drivers, causing greater distraction. They are often lit with a greater intensity than traditional billboards, leading to additional light pollution along highways. (For more background on these tri-vision boards see Scenic America's website at http://www.scenic.org/billboardsign/trivision.htm
) When the bill was presented to the Senate Transportation Committee, not a word was said about this significant and abrupt reversal of the current prohibition in Kentucky regulations against moving billboards. It is unlikely that any of the committee members knew of this effect of the bill, since it was not discussed. In fact, even the new Transportation Cabinet officials were apparently unaware of the bill's impact until KRC inquired about it. Tri-vision billboards have been prohibited along interstates and federal-aid highways by federal policy until 1996, when after persistent lobbying by the outdoor ad industry the U.S. Department of Transportation decided to leave the legality of these boards to the individual states. The tri-vision signs have remained prohibited in Kentucky - but that will change if SB 114 becomes law. Such a dramatic and potentially dangerous reversal of current highway safety policy demands more careful scrutiny than it has received to date. Please call 1-800-732-7181 toll free to leave a message for, or send a fax addressed to: Senator David Williams, Senator Dan Kelly, Senator Charlie Borders, Senator Elizabeth Tori, Senator Dick Roeding, Senator Bob Jackson, Senator Johnny Ray Turner and Senator Ed Worley. Ask them to recommit SB 114 to the Transportation Committee in order that the safety and other issues concerning multiple message boards can be presented to and considered by the Transportation Committee.