The LED advertising billboards that have been put up near the entrance and exit of Port Louis, and another at the round-about of Phoenix, are now the cause of controversy in the country. Rs 12 millions have been invested for the purpose of putting up the modern billboards. However, the Road Development Authority (RDA) is of the opinion that the billboards are not suitable to be put on roadsides, because they are of great hassle to drivers, dazzling the latter. Rs 12 millions gone to waste? Thierry Serret, the Director of the company behind this – Rent A Sign – does not share these views though; according to him, the billboards just have to be repositioned. Well, the RDA is not the only one to have expressed disapproval at the initiative though.
Picture from Lexpress.mu
Many drivers have complained of being dazzled by the brightness of the advertising boards, leading to them not focusing on their driving. Could this be a potential cause for accidents? Well, who knows? Furthermore, the RDA purports that the company had not previously sought its authorisation for the installation of the boards. The arguments against the initiative of the company are piling up. The Traffic Management and Road Safety Unit (TMRSU) also raised concerns about this: according to the TMRSU, the LED billboards represent a serious threat to drivers.
If so many opinions against the setting up of the LED billboards have been levelled by authoritative organisations, how come they have been installed in the first place? Well, the special counsellor of the Prime Minister for road safety, Ben Buntipilly, was present for the launching of this ‘technological tool’ a month ago. He says that he had asked the company to decrease the intensity of brightness of the boards. He has also requested for the company to undertake a study of the risks entailed for drivers.
Rent A Sign has also submitted a report on the international norms relating to the subject at hand. The authorities concerned – the police, the TMRSU, the RDA and the National Transport Authority – are currently reviewing this document. When a decision will have been taken by the latter, those concerned will be informed to be able to know of the steps to be taken.
In the meantime, Thierry Serret is not going to take the billboards down. But, his stance is flexible enough to reposition them if necessary.