Florida Keys

Key West bans mobile advertising trucks. They’re a safety hazard, police say.

A mobile billboard truck makes its way around Key West on a recent day in 2019.
A mobile billboard truck makes its way around Key West on a recent day in 2019.

As expected, the Key West City Commission on Tuesday voted to ban a mobile advertising truck known for its colorful LED screens on three sides.

Police called the truck a safety hazard, saying it distracts drivers and pedestrians from watching where they’re going.

“It’s not a fixed billboard, it’s constantly rotating,” said Key West Police Capt. Randall Smith. “At red lights, people are watching the rolling billboard. They’re not watching the traffic flow.”

The city of Key West wants to ban these mobile billboards. Jed Dodds

The new law will also ban similar LED screens from being placed on the waters surrounding the island.

The commission essentially put the mobile truck, which started circling Key West earlier this year, out of business. LavenirLED didn’t have a representative speak at Tuesday’s meeting.

In June, the commission voted 7-0 to ban the trucks after a first reading of the ordinance.

Key West also has plenty of electronic signs and mini electronic billboards, including one at the city marina, but they aren’t mobile, one commissioner pointed out.

“Should we be addressing those as well?” asked City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, who sponsored the mobile advertising truck ban. “We’re doing it ourselves at Garrison Bight.”

Smith said he’d have to research whether those fixed signs distract drivers to the point it’s a hazard.

The vote was 4-0. Commissioners Greg Davila, Mary Lou Hoover and Clayton Lopez were absent.