Billboards to be banned on main roads

A new amendment is aimed at improving road safety

Advertising billboards will be banned on some roadways outside of towns as of Sept. 1. The reason is that they cause distractions to drivers. The Transport Ministry's road safety department, BESIP, has long maintained that road signs pose a danger.

No advertising will be allowed within 250 meters of motorways and 50 meters from 1st class roads. New billboards cannot be created and there is a five-year period to remove existing ones. The amendment applies to both state and private land.

The number of signs has fallen during the last few years, but there are still a significant number. Jan Studecký of the Road and Motorway Directorate (ŘSD) told the media that the amendment concerns some 3,000 advertising spaces in the protection zones of motorways and 1st class roads all over the country. There is no data on the Moravia-Silesia region, though.

BESIP representatives said that anything that distracts drivers does not belong on the road, and that safety requires the proper conditions.

Other preventive measures that could increase road safety include trimming of trees, better placement of barriers and more consistent road signs. These steps could further reduce accidents according to BESIP.

Removal of advertising equipment must be done by the owners, if not the owners will be charged for the work. If the operators do not remove signs by the specified date from private land, they face a fine of up to Kč 300,000.

Billboards only have to be removed outside cities and municipalities, in part due to pressure from outdoor advertising companies. The companies for the most part say they will follow the law, but that it is too strict.

The law still allows for advertising on second- and third-class roads, but these are not of interest to most advertisers, according to advertising agency representatives.

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