Attraction and distraction of attention with roadside advertisements

  • Published: Accident Analysis and Prevention, Volume 38, 2006
  • Authors: D. Crundall, E. Van Loon, G. Underwood
  • Date Added: 07 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 07 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


To investigate the effect of the positioning of roadside advertisements on attracting the attention of passing drivers and therefore having the potential to contribute to RTI causation.


This study compared street-level advertisements (SLAs; predominantly bus shelters) with raised-level advertisements (RLAs) of the same size that were suspended 3m above the ground, on their ability to attract driver attention under different task conditions. Participants were split into two groups and watched video clips of driving, rating them for hazardousness while their eye movements were recorded. One of the groups was additionally primed to attend to advertisements.

Key Findings:

  • Percentage estimates of driving time where drivers’ attention is directed to scenery and other irrelevant items vary from 20 per cent or less, to 50 per cent.

  • SLAs received the most fixations when participants were solely looking for hazards, and the fewest fixations when primed to look for advertisements.

  • SLAs attract and hold attention at inappropriate times compared to raised-level advertisements.

  • Such distractions have the potential to increase the probability of being involved in an RTI. Assuming that drivers’ propensity to search for hazards is positively correlated with the actual likelihood of a hazard (which is the aim of hazard perception training), then a real hazard is more likely to occur while a driver is fixating an SLA than an RLA.


Advertising signs, distraction, RTIs, safety


Robust academic document.