Mobile billboard irritates SLC residents

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new form of advertising is backfiring in Salt Lake City.

Over the past few weeks a large, bright, neon green, billboard on wheels, advertising for Century Link, has been cruising through neighborhoods. Residents say it's distracting, dangerous and annoying.

"As it drives by the whole house illuminates and to me when I see lights that bright it means emergency or warning," said Melissa Ramos.

Others call it a hazard.

"My first concern was it was a safety violation against cars driving," said Anthony Schepcoff.

It's not a one-time thing. Residents on 1700 South say the Century Link truck has circled past their homes multiple times, on different nights.

It certainly got the attention of City Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall.

"Quite frankly the first time I saw it I was like what on earth is that," Mendenhall said. "By the next morning I was getting emails from constituents about their experience and offense they have taken to the truck."

Salt Lake City says no laws are being broken.

"This is a relatively new phenomenon that our ordinance doesn't really address at all," said Mike Reberg, Director of Community and Economic Development.

The city did reach out to Century Link on Monday to talk about the truck. They released this statement to FOX 13 News.

"As a customer-focused company Century Link recognizes that the bright lights may be distracting and has chosen to suspend the campaign at night."

Residents say unplugging this big green box is the company’s best advertising strategy yet.

"I don't look at that and go sweet I'm going to sign up with that company it's awesome, the first thing I think about is I don't want whatever they have," Ramos said.

Mendenhall said the city is historically strict about billboards in residential neighborhoods and said Century Link found a loophole in the system.

Mendenhall added the city council may have to consider closing the loop so this sort of thing doesn't happen again.


  • GetTheFacts LearnThe Facts

    It is a safety hazard. The laws of road-worthy vehicles state that there is to be no red or blue lights visible from the front of the vehicle and no blue lights visible from the sides or rear of the vehicle. R714-200-4 and R714-200-5 cover this at the state level and the Federal Government cites the rule in § 571.108 49 CFR Ch. V (10–1–11 Edition), S5.1.3 and S5.7. Also another rule is found in Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Admin., DOT § 571.108, Nt. at S7.1.2.2 and in tables I-a, I-b, and I-c that there is no other colors than Red, White and Amber, to be used on any vehicle except for emergency vehicles. There is also alot of information in there about how close you can place a non-standard light to a required light, “conspicuity” markings and the like, all of which that truck has or is missing respectively. The LEDs on the truck are made of multiple colors which fall out of this scope and are so bright that even the camera showing the truck is having a hard time picking up the brake and turn signals, this interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle as well.

    • entitlement

      You forgot to mention ice cream trucks… they’re bright, loud, drive through neiborhoods, making kids scream… please can’t you add them to your list of complaints? P.s. my garbage man came befor 6am this morning too.

      • entitlement now

        And since we’re quoting city codes, you can see them posted at the bottom of 1300 south exit, West side ramp. There’s a great sign with a bunch of city codes prohibiting stoping, standing, soliciting and camping. And right under that sign are a man and a woman, EVERY day, waving people down, slowing down traffic for the people ignorant enough to give them handouts, yet, OUR new mayor thinks the should be policed less… I have to drive past this SAME couple multiple times a day watching the stare me down, wave for attention, or dirty looks because I DON’T give them money… I’d trade for century link van any day…

    • phil Culver

      Re: Also another rule — It really is hard to understand a double negative statement especially when the verb “is” should be “are”. I have no idea what that says. Red, white, and amber can only be used on E-vehicles? RW&A can be used on any vehicle? RW&A can’t be used on E-vehicles? I think you copied wrong. Besides, every car I see has Red and White lights, and most have Amber, too. Including E-vehicles.

      • bob

        The law specifies what lights can face in what direction, and under what circumstances. Red lights cannot face forward unless it’s an emergency vehicle.

  • bob

    I saw an electronic billboard in SLC while passing by on the freeway with a warning against drivers being distracted by electronic screens.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

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