Distracted driving is a dangerous trend in California. It causes a great many automobile accidents. Most of the focus is on distractions inside the vehicle. Examples include cellphones and other electronics.

However, distractions outside the vehicle may also pose a potentially dangerous distraction. Researchers are currently looking at billboards and whether they might contribute to accidents by distracting drivers.

Billboards are specifically designed to attract attention and hold focus for the few moments needed to communicate a message. A billboard may be only a momentary distraction, but that may be all it takes. According to News Wheel, the likelihood of a collision increases with driver inattention of two seconds or more.

Digital billboards are increasingly widespread on highways and in communities. However, they may pose even more of a distraction risk than their static counterparts. Digital billboards are popular because they can display multiple ads in the same space by cycling through them every few seconds. However, according to the Association for Psychological Science, digital billboards may not only draw more frequent glances away from the road, but each glance may also be longer.

Researchers conducted a study of drivers’ reactions to a digital billboard. They found that drivers glanced most often at the billboard during a switch from one ad to another. The study also suggested that a digital billboard may affect a driver’s performance as it relates to steering wheel corrections and braking.

Those conducting the study applied the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s guidelines for assessing in-vehicle distractions and found that, while approaching a digital billboard, drivers spent significantly less time looking at the road overall.