Mobile (or stationary vehicle) Advertising

A really nasty type of advertising on roadways is that done with vehicles. While we understand that most commercial vehicles actually carry advertising for the company they belong to or the product they carry, there have been various attempts to equip vehicles to drive around (or park) just for the purpose of displaying advertising. There are multiple cases:

One operator equipped a box truck with scrolling displays on the sides and back and drove around. When I last saw it, the only ads being displayed were for the company that printed the scrolling sign made of vinyl and the ad service itself.)

Trucks with large signs are being parked alongside the road in shopping center parking lots and other places to act as billboards. Some are actually vinyl banners tied to the sides - not something that could be driven. While the County Sign Code states "No vehicle or trailer of any kind may be placed or parked in any location for the purpose of displaying a sign attached thereto or placed or painted thereon" this is rather hard to enforce. It would probably be more effective to prohibit any commercial vehicle from parking in the front row of a parking lot.

Large, probably unsafe, signs are mounted on tops of cars, which are driven around our roads. These ones came down from Pennsylvania and drove around slowly in convoy, causing a traffic hazard. Here they are parked for lunch. These need to be banned!

Ads have been seen lately for people to mount advertising signs on their private vehicles. Or here. Some suspicious cars have been seen.

Back in September 2008, Councilman McIntire, at my request, introduced Bill 101-08 to prohibit scrolling signs on vehicles (to complement the prohibition on scrolling for permanent signs). There were actually people who argued against such a ban, going so far as to claim that they were not a traffic hazard. In spite of the obvious problem that such vehicles would cause with scrolling signs, the Bill died due to the lack of a second.

While some might think that trying to prohibit such things is silly or impossible, here are some references for mobile advertising laws:

A company already exists in the Baltimore area. See here. With present-day LED displays, it is only a matter of time before someone mounts giant TVs on the sides and back of a truck and drives around Baltimore County with full-motion video ads. They already exist. See here. The time will come when it becomes necessary for Baltimore County to craft legislation to stop these things. It would be best to do so before any appear.

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Updated 2 Dec 2020 by MAP