“May as well legalize texting while driving”

electronic billboard


Open letter to the Eureka City Council

re: electronic signs

Dear Eureka City Council members,

When it comes to electronic signs, we can argue about the value of commerce vs. urban blight and the loss of Eureka’s historic appearance, but the bottom line in my mind is public safety. If you’re going to allow electronic billboards, you may as well legalize texting while driving. As the CHP and others work tireless to remind us, even a momentary distraction can cost lives.

It may only contribute to one or two deaths a decade, but you can be sure that the added the distraction to drivers will in time likely and unfortunately lead to fatal accidents. While I’m sure the city’s insurance actuary could justify the rare occasional death, your conscience should not.

I hope you will take a somber moment to ask yourself, would even one death be acceptable just to accommodates commerce’s claim that these new signs are both integral and essential to their business?

Are these really necessary?

I’ve personally watched people swerve out of their lane on more than one occasion as they pass the large electronic billboards on Highway 101 down in the Peninsula around the Redwood City area. It can be pretty scary.

Let’s put public safety first.

Sincerely, Richard Salzman (frequent driver through Eureka)


We couldn’t agree more. Driving by Redwood Acres, even in the day time, the extremely bright sign right next to a very active pedestrian crosswalk is extremely distracting. At night it’s almost blinding. This sign stands out as prime example of how bad this can be. We predict unless restrictions are placed on these, their use will spread fast. Eureka, which has one of the worst records for pedestrian fatalities in the state, shouldn’t even be considering legislating a way to have more collisions. The council should be doing the opposite, and trying to find ways to make Eureka safer.

We can hear it now: “What, you’re business only has a poorly lit paper billboard?”


3 thoughts on ““May as well legalize texting while driving”

  1. Its isn’t simply a local issue. CalTrans has installed informational moving text signs as well. I’m often distracted by the one on 101 North near 299. Trying to read the entire message takes about 4 seconds. At 65mph that’s 380 feet.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Local ordinances certainly can and should regulate sign placement and lighting rules.
    Signs that overwhelm the foreground can and should be regulated, especially if they are obstructing safe driver visibility at crosswalks at night.
    Municipalities that bother do ban pole signs, they ban flashing and illuminated signs, they regulate quantity, size, placement, materials as well.
    It’s a well established process, of course the whining and complaining are constant. Sign committees can be autocratic and annoying, businesses find the sign expenses way lower..eventually, and what hurts is the expensive signage they have recently paid for. Letting them have a grace period before removal works, but it’s messy to convert to a city that does have this relief from the very visible pollution and distraction.
    When it’s finally proposed it has usually been after a long period where the escalation in sign size, glare, and volume have caused a reaction and people want to change it.

    Go to a city that has a strict sign ordinance and that enforces it, the relief is amazing.

    We either care what we look like, or we don’t. We have to start somewhere…there are many somewheres in Eureka.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: Tuluwat Examiner | Enough blight is enough, tell the City Council, no more!

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