Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Previously on This Just In...
Thursday night, when many will turn their attention to celebrating Valentine’s Day, Franklin’s Architectural Review Board will waste time discussing whether heavier regulation of LED signs is necessary. LED stands for “light emitting diode.”
The board is worried that the city, and this is hard to believe, doesn’t have any stipulations in its building code to address the few (FranklinNOW reports a “handful”) LED signs that display bright images. Too bright for board member Ted Juerisson. FranklinNOW reports Juerisson “brought the issue to the board, noting that the brightness of the signs, such as the one located at the car wash on Rawson Avenue, can be overwhelming, especially at night.”
The Las Vegas strip. Now that's overwhelming, not lil ol' Franklin.
FranklinNOW also reports that “Building Inspector Fred Baumgart said that the signs also can pose a distraction to drivers if the displayed images or messages change too frequently.”
Now that’s a real toughie. If I was a reporter and the building inspector told me that the LED sign at the car wash could pose a danger, I’d get on the phone and call the Franklin Police Department for the latest data about vehicle crashes near that site. Should be pretty easy given that 76th and Rawson is one of Franklin’s major intersections. Not surprisingly, the FranklinNOW reporter omits this key element of the story.
Could LED signs be dangerous for motorists? About two weeks ago, I found this headline on treehugger.com:
New Study Finds Link Between LED Billboards and Likelihood of Highway Crashes
The results of a new Swedish study are referenced by the website reporter:
“Overall, the electronic billboards attract more visual attention than the other traffic signs included in the study. Dwell times are longer, the visual time sharing intensity is higher, very long single glances are more frequent, and the number of fixations is greater for the electronic billboards.”
The reporter even expresses his agreement with an activist who claims that highways should be off limits to advertising signs.
One assumes that the finding from the study is that LEDs are hazardous. Except that’s not what the study says, a key element once again omitted by a reporter.
The conclusion of the study states: “Whether the electronic billboards attract too much attention and constitute a traffic safety hazard cannot be answered conclusively based on the present data.” Also, “no effect was found for the driving behaviour data.”
Back to Franklin’s Architectural Review Board. Their discussion Thursday night will be an attempt to look and feel somewhat relevant. But actions they and potentially the Common Council take could be more dangerous than the LEDs they’re so worried about.
Suppose a decision is made to clamp down on these LEDs affecting the car wash at 76th and Rawson to the point the LED has to be altered dramatically or taken down. Is that good for business? Would that send the right message to other potential business owners?
These characters should stick to telling new homebuilders if their siding is in compliance