On the streets of our City, Angelenos have noticed an increasing number of digital mobile billboards attached to the top of some Uber and Lyft ridesharing vehicles. It was not too long ago that the Valley was blanketed with unhitched mobile billboards advertising everything you can imagine and I am proud to have authored the State legislation that enabled us to rid our communities of that blight. Digital mobile billboards are the next generation of this evolving problem, but this time it’s not just about littering the public right of way with visual blight- they also pose a serious public safety hazard that needs to be addressed.mobile led display trailer
Recently, I introduced a motion in the City Council that would make it crystal clear that those digital advertisements affixed to cars are illegal in Los Angeles. The City Attorney says they are already illegal, but folks continue to flout the law and pretend that the law is ambiguous. As expected, blight merchants are spreading misinformation about the purpose of my motion, concluding that my goal is to inhibit hard working drivers from earning extra money. I would like to set the record straight.
Called dynamic message signs (DMS), they use digital LED technology to display changeable illuminated advertising. Currently a company called Firefly installs the rooftop DMS devices using roof racks and wiring the screens to the car battery. At 52 inches long by 17 inches high, the boxes holding the screens are bigger than most rooftop cargo carriers. Uber and Lyft drivers who agree to mount the digital screens on their vehicles are paid an average of $300.00 monthly.
Right now, there are only a few DMS around town, but that will change very fast if they are not nipped in the bud. Unlike other new technologies that improve our quality of life, these signs do the exact opposite. Make no mistake about it, any profit the blight merchants and drivers make from these illuminated billboards, comes at the expense of our neighborhoods and our safety.
They pose a serious public safety hazard. Law enforcement agencies like the California Highway Patrol have expressed concerns about how flashing displays reduce the effectiveness of roadside and emergency vehicle lights. If we let these digital ads fly through traffic we risk making every street in Los Angeles illuminate as bright as the top of an ambulance, inherently making it unsafe for anyone sharing the road. If they don’t take your attention off the roads and toward the advertisement, they aren’t serving their purpose.