Current zoning law allows electronic message boards "as long as they are on a cycle of no less than five seconds."
Councilman Jamie Benoit said he believes the billboards are illegal; he hopes to clarify a law already on the books.
The county has seven or eight of these signs, according to the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. Of that, only a couple appear to have moving video or text that would conflict with Benoit's bill, said Bob Burdon, the chamber's president and chief executive officer.
Should the county welcome the eye-catching signs as the wave of the future in advertising, or are they a risky distraction?
Billboards are not to blame for crashes
I am glad to see Mr. Benoit is making an earnest attempt to pass legislation and make an impact as a councilman. I am disheartened that he has yet to open his eyes and see that what he is saying about moving billboards makes no sense. I would like for Councilman Benoit to park near a busy street and see all the stupid things people do while driving. A billboard should be the least of his worries.
Every day, you see how this person or that person was in an accident because of speeding. You hear about recent high school graduates heading somewhere and crashing. They were talking, carrying on and text messaging. All these things could have been done when they got to their destination.
Over 40,000 people die every year on America's streets. Over half are because the driver is just not paying attention to the road. A billboard, when there are only a couple in the county, is not to blame here.
Victor Henderson Glen Burnie
Drivers don't need another distraction
The electronic signs/billboards pose a threat to drivers. There is so much around us while driving -- one more distraction is not what we need to remain safe on the road.
We're paying attention to the radio, cell phones, other drivers, our car, and now electronic signs?! There's just too much going on!
Nicole Bateman Pasadena
Will churches be targeted, too?
I don't see how these signs can be considered any more distracting than anything else people do while driving -- talking on a cell phone comes to mind.
I would like to point out something that Mr. Benoit failed to mention, either due to a lack of knowledge or as a deliberate omission: Several churches in the Odenton/Severn/Harundale corridor have electronic signs on their front lawns that feature scrolling messages. And what about those lighted signs that don't scroll but have messages that are too long to read without slowing down? Will they be considered illegal under Mr. Benoit's legislation, or will they simply be his next target?
Michael Calo Glen Burnie
Electronic signs are not the problem
As someone who travels I-97 daily, I would ask this councilman if he is going to ban private use of these electronic billboards. The ones the state operate cause more slowdowns than any private ones. Is this man going to ban them also or is this just another right taken away by liberal Democrats?
Anne Arundel has massive development problems and all Jamie Benoit and Councilman Josh Cohen can think of is electronic billboards? What is the matter with these people?
The government is constantly trying to take away rights, whether it's private property, smoking or now that liberal bastion Montgomery County, on what to eat.
Kathy Ostrowski Churchton
Problem needed to be brought to light
Flashing neon/electronic signs are indeed distracting, causing message congestion and driver confusion. Moreover, they are stressful and irritatingly ugly. In a couple years we'll have Vegas all over the place.
Thank you, Councilman Benoit, for bringing this important issue to light.
Carolyn Crawford Severna Park