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Drivers’ Help or Hindrance?

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Ever nearly rear end someone while staring at those Blade Runner-esque dynamic digital billboards that dazzle and daze passing motorists at numerous intersections around town? Those same devices that might push drivers to dangerous distraction are now urging us to mind the road. Go figure.

LAist is skeptical about the logic behind the DOT’s $2 million, multilingual campaign that hopes to curb careless, aggressive, and/or reckless behavior. Despite good intentions (urging people to use more caution when negotiating the mean streets of Los Angeles sounds like a worthy enough cause), generic bad driving remains a tough issue to tackle. According to today’s LA Times article, opinions of experts are at odds. The question whether or not advertising is an effective medium to promote this message is debatable, since only the legitimate threat of disciplinary action combined with public awareness campaigns yields results. While advertising obviously influences consumer choices, achieving the same impact on motorists’ behavior remains elusive.

And it’s never you who’s the menace behind the wheel, right? The article points to the truth that “faulty self-confidence makes [most drivers] believe the admonitions don't apply.” We’ll see how many folks out there glance elsewhere and as a result decide to “Watch the Road.”

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