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‘Are we stuck with them?’: County targets mobile billboards on the Strip

Clark County wants to more tightly regulate mobile billboards, which are most often seen driving up and down the Las Vegas Strip.

The vehicles were lightly regulated in 2019 after they seemingly appeared from nowhere, becoming a distraction for some in the tourist corridor.

Several county commissioners said they’d rather not allow them in the first place.

“These have no business on the Strip,” Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said Tuesday. “I didn’t like them before, I don’t like them now. But it seems like we’re stuck with them.”

Commissioner Tick Segerblom asked county counsel if that was so: “Are we stuck with them?”

Banning them would require justification, further studies and would likely attract legal challenges on constitutional grounds, commissioners were told.

The lengthy debate took place as county staff presented a traffic study and proposed regulations for the industry, which has five license holders who operate 86 vehicles.

The study concluded that the vehicles tend to slow down traffic, and that some have lights emitting from them that are much brighter than county code allows.

Commissioner Ross Miller used an example of one from Omega Mart that had lively motorized components and stereo and fog systems.

“The idea that we would take a corridor as important to us as the Las Vegas Strip and allow it just for advertisements to what public utility, I have no idea,” he said.

The study, delayed due to the pandemic, examined a 2.6-mile area on Las Vegas Boulevard, between Tropicana Avenue and Elvis Presley Boulevard.

The county said the billboards tended to drive about 35 percent slower than the other vehicles, which translated to 10 to 15 mph. When allowed to drive in the center lane, the county said, the billboards endangered the general public when they tried changing lanes.

They were also observed to create distances between cars and near intersections, according to the report.

Some played sounds and had flashing, bright lights that could strain the eyes of passersby, the study determined.

Tuesday’s presentation was only a report, and county employees will go back to write an ordinance, conduct further research and meet with the business community.

Some of the proposals include capping the number of vehicles allowed on the Strip at 100, with GPS to enforce the rule.

The billboards would only be allowed to drive in the curb lane, and only show advertisements on one side, toward pedestrians, and not toward traffic in other lanes.

The drivers would only be able to enter and exit the Strip through right turns, according to the proposed rules. Also, mobile billboard owners who only promote their own businesses are currently exempt from regulations; that would likely change under a new ordinance.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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