LED Sign Regulation and Legislation

Sign legislation significantly affects the sign industry. Daktronics offers sign companies, sign owners, and regulatory officials information and support that no other manufacturer does.

Our Sign Code Legislation department is dedicated to developing codes agreeable to both LED sign owners and city officials. Daktronics endorses the retailer's right to free speech, while also respecting a community's desire to regulate signage.


How do we work with LED sign legislation?

The trained personnel of our Sign Code department focus on LED sign legislation that allows appropriate
use of digital displays. To do this, the department:

  • Recommends appropriate sign code wording
  • Provides information about legislation and court rulings
  • Conducts sign demonstrations
  • Presents educational seminars

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Current topics of legislation that affect you:

Experts have been researching to see if a connection exists between electronic message displays and traffic accidents. When looking at LED signs and traffic safety, it's important to remember that the statistical studies show accidents do not increase around digital displays.

Researchers have also conducted human factor studies that focus on the glance patterns of drivers. These studies have discovered that the level of distraction caused by viewing a digital display is much lower than other driver actions going on inside a car, including eating, drinking, changing the radio dial, or checking on a child in the vehicle.

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Third-Party Research Findings

No causal connection has been found between traffic accidents and digital displays. The following are the results of third-party research studies that were conducted in multiple locations.

 

"Driver Visual Behavior in the Presence of Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS)."

Federal Highway Administration. "Driver Visual Behavior in the Presence of Commercial Electronic Variable Message Signs (CEVMS)." U.S Department of Transportation, 2012.

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"Statistical Analysis of the Relationship between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety."

Texas A&M University. "Statistical Analysis of the Relationship between On-Premise Digital Signage and Traffic Safety." 2012.

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"A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in the Greater Reading Area, Berks County, PA."

Tantala, Sr., P.E. and M. Tantala. "A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in the Greater Reading Area, Berks County, PA." Tantala Associates, Consulting Engineers, 2010.

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"A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Henrico County and Richmond, VA."

Tantala, Sr., P.E. and M. Tantala. "A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Henrico County and Richmond, VA." Tantala Associates, Consulting Engineers, 2010.

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"A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Albuquerque, NM."

Tantala, Sr., P.E. and M. Tantala. "A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Albuquerque, NM." Tantala Associates, Consulting Engineers, 2010.

Read Study

 

"A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Rochester, MN."

Tantala, Sr., P.E. and M. Tantala. "A Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Rochester, MN." Tantala Associates, Consulting Engineers, 2009.

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"An Updated Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Cuyahoga County, Ohio."

Tantala, Sr., P.E. and M. Tantala. "An Updated Study of the Relationship between Digital Billboards and Traffic Safety in Cuyahoga County, Ohio." Tantala Associates, Consulting Engineers, 2009.

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Sign Owners, sign manufacturers, and sign companies want appropriate brightness levels just as much as city councils do for the following reasons:

  • An overly bright LED sign is often hard to read
  • Correct brightness levels use less energy.

Automatic Dimming Technology

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Daktronics recommends that only those LED signs capable of appropriately responding to ambient light levels be installed. This technology ensures automatic adjustments of brightness levels for optimum legibility.

Foot Candles vs. Nits

If a jurisdiction insists on specific brightness limitations, using a set standard of .3 foot candles above ambient light conditions as a measurement is more appropriate than using nits for the following reasons:

 

  • Rather than setting minimum and maximum nits levels, foot candle measurements above ambient light ensure such signs adjust appropriately to the surrounding ambient conditions.

 

  • Unlike nits-measurement devices that are more costly and difficult to use, foot candle measuring devices are less expensive and very user friendly.

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Brightness Brochure

The International Sign Association (ISA) updated their Night-time Brightness Level Recommendations for On-Premise Electronic Message Centers. This resource is filled with great information to help educate government regulators about LED sign brightness.

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Suggested Wording for LED Display Brightness Regulations

"Electronic message centers shall come equipped with dimming technology that automatically adjusts the display's brightness based on ambient light conditions."

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Daktronics is aware of the issues many sign owners face, and we have built features into our control software that make it easy to program LED signs to comply with area sign regulations regarding frame effects and animation. Daktronics recommends a tiered framework for LED sign movement regulations, allowing more motion in commercial areas while protecting residential zones.

 

LED Sign Flashing Regulation

Flashing is an effect some LED sign owners use in which the content of a display switches rapidly in a very short period of time.

Issues with Flashing Display Content

Flashing content is often seen as an attention getter instead of communicating a message. Flashing sign regulation is an important topic for regulatory officials to carefully consider.

Suggested Solutions for Regulators and Businesses

Instead of restricting all digital signage, the following suggestions can help both local regulators and businesses to reach an agreement:

  • Prohibit flashing with a properly defined sign code.
  • Show frames in a slide-show-like arrangement.
  • Easily eliminate flashing using Daktronics software.

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Content Movement and Transitions

Animated Content

Businesses use animation to showcase aspects of their products/services that can't be portrayed by static images or text. Animation can be an excellent way to communicate a message to the traveling public.

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Frame Effects

Some cities are unaware that digital displays can be programmed to display frames in a slide-show-like arrangement similar to a PowerPoint presentation.

On-premise digital display operators commonly use frame effects for the purpose of transitioning smoothly from one static image to the next. Many areas embrace frame effects, especially where animated signs are not necessarily appropriate.

Digital Display Hold Times

City councils can ensure that on-premise digital displays use only static images in certain zoning districts by prohibiting animation and implementing hold-time guidelines for each frame.

Display programmers can choose to use an animation as a still in the background with a text message in front of it. In this way, a colorful, vibrant message can be displayed while still complying with a sign code's strict static image hold time.

Off-Premise LED Display Hold-Time Guidelines

  • Static images, no animations
  • Operator sets billboard to any hold time prescribed by regulation (8 seconds is most common).

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On-Premise LED Display Hold-Time Guidelines

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Protected or Residential Areas

  • Static images with three-second minimum hold times
  • Instantaneous transitions allowed

Commercial Corridors

  • Animation and frame effects allowed
  • No flashing

Well-Traveled Areas

  • Static images with one-second hold time
  • Frame effects allowed

Urban Centers & Entertainment Zones

(generally located in larger cities)

  • Video, animations and frame effects

As city officials regulate this valuable technology, understanding how their community can benefit from LED signs is very important. When considering LED sign regulation and public service, regulatory officials should take into account the benefits these displays provide to the public.

LED signs contribute to a community's well being by helping businesses, especially small businesses. Even municipalities use digital displays to welcome visitors, promote local businesses and act as the community message board.

Public Service Content on Digital Display

How do digital displays contribute to the well-being of the community?

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  • Increase the city's tax base as retailers attract more business
  • Boost property values
  • Provide community support
  • Run AMBER® Alerts
  • Inform about criminals at large
  • Broadcast severe weather warnings

Third-Party Research Findings

"The Economic Benefits of Exterior Electronic Message Boards."

This research provides new insights into the benefits of investing in electronic message boards, based on the latest performance metrics from a major retailer.

Read Study

Have Questions Concerning Sign Legislation?

Reach out to our Sign Legislation department.

Sign Legislation Resources

Daktronics Literature

We provide literature concerning various aspects of digital display legislation and regulation.

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