Lamar Advertising Digital Billboards Were Most Recently Used to Direct Traffic During Hopple Street Collapse
Today, the controversial billboard placed by the pro-toll coalition was abruptly removed after backlash from the public. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the City of Covington received numerous complaints about the dangerous advertisement that imitated a road sign and posed a serious threat to public safety.
The state of Kentucky and City of Covington have clear regulations prohibiting signs that imitate or replicate official road signs.
Perhaps most alarming is that Lamar Advertising, the owner of the billboard, is often used to issue official traffic warnings or directions on the part of transportation departments.
Lamar Advertising billboards were most recently used to issue live traffic updates and help reroute traffic on I-75 in Cincinnati after a bridge collapsed on Interstate 75.
“The sign was an obvious public safety issue. The pro-toll coalition has a history of trying to scare people into supporting tolls, but this time, they’ve crossed the line,” said Joe Meyer of Northern Kentucky United. “This is a continuation of their dishonest and deceptive public relations and lobbying campaign. The public deserves better.”
There is some discrepancy over when the sign began running. On Wednesday evening, Matt Davis of the pro-toll coalition told a WLWT reporter that the ads began running Monday. This morning Lamar Advertising—perhaps out of concern over the legal liability of the sign—reached out to reporters and community leaders to clarify that the ad began running on Tuesday and was not in rotation at the time of Monday’s accident near the billboard.
Lamar Advertising has confirmed that the advertisement was removed “at the request of the client.”
Background on regulations prohibiting signs that imitate road signs or signals:
§ 10.05 of the Covington zoning ordinance prohibits:
(E) signs which are not traffic, control or safety signals, but by their shape, color, or manner of mounting or display, appear to be traffic, control or safety signals, and thus create confusion for drivers and pedestrians, as well as signs which create or constitute traffic hazards
Kentucky Administrative Regulation, 603 KAR 10:20reg, prohibits electronic advertising devices that:
(e) Directs the movement of traffic;
(f) Interferes with, imitates, or resembles an official traffic sign, signal, or traffic control device;
According to 603 KAR, the penalties for such violations are as follows:
Section 7. Penalties. (1) The owner of an electronic advertising device who willfully violates a provision of this administrative regulation shall be assessed a penalty of $500 per day, per violation, per message pursuant to KRS 177.990(2).