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Stop Digital Billboards in St. Johns County, Florida

This petition had 58 supporters

During the St. Johns County Commissioners meeting on November 1,  2016,  an ordinance  was presented to change our land code to allow Digital Billboards.

The residents of St. Johns County do not want digital billboards for many reasons. Safety is a primary concern. I-95, and specifically the planned areas for the digital billboards, are actually “America’s deadliest stretch of highway.” News4JAX has reported numerous times and has shown the public the Federal figures that “Florida's part of I-95 has the highest fatality rate of any road, anywhere in the United States.” Not just any stretch of I-95, but with the “worst area for wrecks was around County Road 210, where there were 62 accidents, including three deadly ones. The other hot spots for wrecks were near International Golf Parkway, State Road 207 and State Road 16.” The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that even a two second distraction "significantly increases individual crash risk."

Research from M.I.T. shows that drivers find it virtually "impossible" to avoid looking at the electronic billboard signs during changing between ads. Cities in the UK, Brazil, British Columbia, Sweden, etc. all limit or ban the use of digital billboards. The fact remains, that most accidents are not caused by alcohol or speeding, but by distracted drivers. The job of a digital billboard is to get the attention of a driver, thus distracting the driver.

Digital billboards are also a visual blight on the landscape of any community. Vermont, Hawaii, Alaska and Maine have banned digital billboards, and a large factor in their decision making process was based on their tourism industry. They have prospered in business and tourism and they attribute their success in part to their ban on digital billboards. As we all know, tourism is a large economic factor for our county. Roads that are littered with digital billboards do not create scenic areas that attract tourism, outside investments or outside companies. 

Another huge factor is the environment.  Astronauts on the International Space Station have been photographing major cities from space, before and after the cities have transitioned to LED, and these "energy saving" bulbs are actually making light pollution worse. This artificial light washes out the night sky and causes numerous negative effects. Not to mention that lead, arsenic and a dozen other dangerous substances in the LED bulbs, make them very dangerous. If one breaks in your house, the EPA recommends you clean it up like hazardous waste.

Furthermore, why should we encourage the wastefulness of the natural resources required to sustain the electricity needed to run and operate an electronic billboard? According to the International Dark-Sky Association in Arizona "1/2 of all lighting in the US is wasted, at an annual cost of about 30 million barrels of oil and 8.2 million tons of coal - a total of about $2 billion." Why do we need to harm our environment for a light up sign on the side of the road?

Please share and sign this petition and let our county commissioners know that the residents of St Johns County do NOT want digital billboards. 

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