A Louisiana trucking group is taking action against “billboard blight” — especially those billboards advertising for “big truck wreck” lawyers — by supporting new legislation in the state’s House and Senate.
The Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc. (LMTA) group has thrown their support behind two pieces of legislation — Senate Bill 211 and House Concurrent Resolution 4 — that would put a cap on the number of billboards that advertisers can put up along the side of the state’s roads along with increasing billboard permit fees.
The anti-billboard advocates say that Louisiana is home to 7,000 billboards — which is 10% of all billboards nationwide. Lawmakers say that this profusion of billboards is a source of “visual clutter” that annoys locals and could deter tourism. Rep. Jack McFarland said, “if you listen to my constituents they are tired of seeing all these billboards pop up. Everyone agrees that you can’t go 500 feet without seeing a billboard now.”
One of the LMTA’s main arguments against the billboards is that they are dangerous because they distract drivers. The LMTA website argues that, “According to Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, anything that takes a driver’s eyes or mind off the road is considered a distraction. Billboards exist to do both. Distracted driving is a root cause of accidents that drive up insurance premiums … In 2018, 7,000 accidents were caused by ‘Outside of the Vehicle Distraction’.”
Several Facebook posts shared by the LMTA also indicate that the group is supporting the anti-billboard legislation in part because it would limit the reach of “big truck wreck” attorneys.
The LMTA also points out that the advertising industry pays very little to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) when compared to what the trucking industry contributes:
“The entire billboard industry pays DOTD a combined $145,000 per year for its some 7,000 Louisiana billboards. These revenues do not cover DOTD’s cost of administering the program, meaning motorists are subsidizing the billboard industry through the fuel tax. One single Louisiana truck pays nearly $13,000 per year to use the highway system, while billboard companies pay an average of only $20 per year for each billboard.”
For more information on the LMTA’s fight against billboards, click here.