Advertiser on trucks should 'simply use common sense'

Brooklyn Currents | 6/23/2015 | 1 comments

By DAVID J. GLENN
Brooklyn Currents Publisher

You're traveling along Coney Island Avenue on a nice June afternoon. As you approach a light, a large truck pulls in front of you.

But it's not just any truck. Each side and the back of the truck are taken up by video screens, with rapidly flashing scenes of an upcoming "NYCItyFest" event advertised for July 7 in Central Park. Every second there's a different scene of performances, the crowd, the CityFest logo,or information about the date of the event.

You find it very difficult to concentrate on driving. You're part of a captive audience – but unlike in the subway or on a bus, you're the one driving, and it's very easy to be distracted by the rapid-fire moving images.

Which is why the Department of Transportation prohibits such advertising: "No part of advertising on [a moving truck] may be reflectorized,  Illuminated, or animated," it sates under its Truck, Traffic, Rules , and Routes regulations.

A staffer at NY CityFest told Brooklyn Currents that the organization – an evangelical missionary group based in Chelsea in Manhattan – hired a public relations firm that has dispatched eight video trucks throughout the city, mainly in Manhattan but also in Queens and Brooklyn.

The PR firm could not be reached.

"Of course it's distracting," said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA . "We're not sure what can be done legislatively, since it gets into free-speech issues, but we can hope that advertisers, and drivers, simply use common sense."

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Here are more details of the DOT's restrictions on vehicle advertising:

 
Section 4-14 (j) Commercial advertising vehicles.  (1) Restrictions.  No person shall operate, stand, or park a vehicle on any street or roadway for the purpose of commercial advertising. Advertising notices relating to the business for which a vehicle is used may be put upon a motor vehicle when such vehicle is in use for normal delivery or business purposes, and not merely or mainly for the purpose of commercial advertising, provided that no portion of any such notice shall be reflectorized, illuminated, or animated, and provided that no such notice shall be put upon the top of the vehicle and that no special body or other object shall be put upon vehicles for commercial advertising purposes. Advertisements may be put upon vehicles licensed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in accordance with the Commission's rules.

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