Despite pledge, highways authority slow to remove roadside billboards
Two months ago, the Czech highways authority promised it would end billboard advertising along the country’s main motorways, criticised as dangerous by road safety specialists. It pledged to remove a total of 440 ads within the first quarter of 2011 but it hasn’t moved to do so yet.
“I think that there is no doubt that billboards along motorways are dangerous and we are practically the only country in Europe with this problem. First of all, it’s a direct danger for drivers who lose control and hit the billboard construction. There are no concrete statistics, but the basic estimation is that it is about 10 people annually. Now, if 750 people are killed on Czech roads, 10 doesn’t seem high but these are wasted lives.”
Basically you are saying these are completely needless accidents...
This is supposed to have begun to change: back in November the Czech Road and Motorway Directorate pledged to remove more than 400 signs within the first three months of 2011. On Tuesday the head of the bureau, Jiří Švorc, told Czech Radio the authority would keep to its promise, but suggested that the problem was more complex than simply physically removing the signs: what was needed was to work out the details in legal contracts going back to the early 1990s. Under Czech law billboards are defined as a structure and in a number of cases their removal is complicated. According to Josef Mikulík that is the main reason this task – discussed far longer than just the last few months – has dragged on for years. Josef Mikulík: