Should advertising on cars, vans and lorries be banned?

Call to ban promotional messages on the side of commercial vehicles

Advertisements and promotional messages on the sides of lorries, vans and other vehicles are a distraction to road users and should be banned.

While promotional messages on lorries have been a fixture for many years, the new-found ease that road users have to act on advertising from the driving seat means that it has become far simpler to become distracted.

The Flexed.co.uk car leasing company says that increased use of smartphones mean that the temptation to act on promotional offers while driving is now all too real, with possibly fatal results.

lorry and car advertising

“Roads are busy enough as it is without yet another distraction for drivers,” says Flexed.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, “and increasing numbers of road users tell us that their heads have been turned by these mobile adverts when they were supposed to be concentrating on the road.

“Drivers tell us that with modern technology at their fingertips, it’s all too easy to be drawn away from the task in hand.”

A poll of road users by Flexed.co.uk found significant numbers taking unnecessary risks as a result of promotional messages on commercial vehicles. Flexed.co.uk polled 1500 drivers.

• 23% said they had tried to key a website address from the back of a commercial vehicle into their smartphone while driving
• 10% said they had taken a photo of a promotional offer on a lorry while driving so they could recall it later
• 1% said they had tried to scan a QR code on the back of a lorry or van while driving
• 4% said that they had found themselves in a dangerous situation while distracted by mobile advertising

“Even this sample of just 1500 drivers tells us that the danger is small but significant,” says Hall, “and it only takes a second to have a life-changing accident.”

Flexed.co.uk is calling on the Department of Transport to coordinate with police forces and Highways Agency to discuss this clear need for a ban on distracting advertising on commercial vehicles.

With roadside clutter and unnecessary road signs grabbing the attention of overworked drivers already acknowledged as a road safety factor, mobile threats should also be addressed, Flexed says.

“Let’s be clear – advertising on lorries and vans is not all bad,” says Mark Hall.

“However, there should be regulations forbidding calls to action that could be addressed from the driving seat.”