Do billboards plastered with pretty women cause road accidents?

Published: September 23, 2015

A Supreme Court judge in Karachi ruled that female models on billboards are responsible for road accidents.

Billboards have always been a bone of contention amongst the religious in Pakistan. They have resorted to throwing stones and other paraphernalia to register their protest at the image of pretty female models advertising various products from mobile phones to lawn prints.

On the other scale, you get celebrities proudly posting images of billboards with their face on them with hashtags on Instagram as a way of showing just how cool they really are. This week, however, a Supreme Court judge in Karachi ruled that female models on billboards are responsible for road accidents. Yes, on roads that are packed with sputtering rickshaws, a never-ending array of motorcycles, several Corollas and not to mention all those wibbly-wobbly bicycles on the side, it is billboards with female models that indeed cause road accidents.

Having driven in Pakistan before, I can assure you road accidents are not caused by aesthetically pleasing billboards but by total chaos on the roads itself. When you’re not too busy swerving from other vehicles, you have to make sure you don’t hit the beggars on the side of the street who swarm together waiting to pounce on cars that are waiting at the traffic light or from other cars that cut sharply in front of you if you happen to drive at a pace that slows them down.

Instead of punishing billboards, more should be done about the standard of safety on the road itself which is a mammoth task that no one really wants to tackle, so the scapegoat in the shape of hoardings are slaughtered instead.

Billboards are a great marketing technique for companies keen to display their wares to entice passer-by’s into buying their products. They are relatively cheap, form a good source of income for companies, and also keep the advertising companies in business.

There is a definitive logic in removing billboards in the case of strong winds, which can make them fall and kill innocent passer-bys and they should be nailed to walls instead to make them safer, as they do in England.

However, there is no logic in blaming female models who have no control over the content of their advertiser’s methods. Instead male drivers who take issue with females should show restraint and modesty by lowering their gaze and focus on the ensuing chaos they face on the streets. No one bats an eyelid when a partially-dressed male model is shown on billboards.

Aren’t they just as distracting to females?

Will road accidents be less prevalent if male and female models were censured?

In conclusion, I agree in part to the judgment of the honourable judge that hoardings when improperly erected can be extremely dangerous but hoardings are a great source of marketing for the advertisers and a good way to spruce up a concrete jungle. If one takes issue with them, they should simply focus on the colossally difficulty of driving by keeping their eyes on the road.

Faiza Iqbal

Faiza Iqbal

A law graduate from King's College, London Nottingham Law School. Having worked at Mandviwalla & Zafar as an Associate, she now writes freelance articles and is trying to qualify as a barrister in Canada.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Disgusting

    Either declare this is not an Islamic State or have such trash as billboards including cheap TV commercials.Recommend

  • Desigoogly

    Pakistanis are becoming funnier by the day…

    Cellphones are the main cause of many road accidents..Recommend

  • Muhammed Ali Abbasi

    The author is incorrect. I live in Karachi, I tavel to and fro and I know that these billboards are the cause of major accidents. Not kidding!. Suppose you are driving you lift your head for a second and see a super hot model blowing kisses to you, wont you be distracted? Have sense !Recommend

  • adnan

    ridiculous analysis…Recommend

  • Gullu

    YES ! YES ! It causes accidents. put Depika on a Billboard, and wait for crunching metal soundsRecommend

  • Adi Pranoto

    Every advert created to attract people attention, and advert on roadside billboard indeed can attract the drivers attention and make them forget the traffic situation. However, this is not the fault of model in advert, but the fault of people who put this billboard at there.Recommend

  • Nabeel Khan

    Ummm… nope! I think static billboards are not as dangerous as those LED screens.. Any way, is there something about pretty women catches our eyes.. or even chicken dressed in mayo.. I am not too sure!Recommend

  • zaaamin

    If i am driving & hit another car in a traffic jam by glancing a seducing looks of a female @ billboard, i think it’s nothing to do with religion.

    @Author I think the reasons for this piece is that the author won’t get a penny out of it, if she’s pleading this case on behalf of karachiites (daily commuter) because the reality is billboard do aggravate accident or least it diverts your attention while driving. So the author decides its better to be with corporation who spend millions in advertisement.

    “Aren’t they just as distracting to females?”
    Yes they’re if its California or LGBT haven.

    “Will road accidents be less prevalent if male and female models were censured?”

    Let the authority decides.

    Anything else?
    Thank you
    SC judgement intact !Recommend

  • ghayyas

    Title is wrong. It is not pretty women pictures on billboard, rather attractive women pics that may cause accidents.Recommend

  • guest

    Simply have billboards with burqaed women !Recommend

  • Burqa king

    Of course. You should put these women on billboard in burqa. There will be no more accidents.Recommend

  • Asim

    I don’t know, how do these pseudo liberals drag religion into every discussion and start criticizing it without having no logic of that. The fact is, that they cause accidents, and when you would put Katrina on the board, you simply can not look away. The judge didn’t order the models to wear burqa, simply the judgement is to remove those signboards. Lowering the gaze is what I agree with you partially, but if I lower the gaze, maybe the other guy wouldnt lower it and then he will bump the car on to my car. how do you see that!Recommend

  • JP

    Trust an Indian to jump in everything.
    Feet first.Recommend

  • nuzhat zafar

    The billboards are hazards. Recommend

  • Wafa Basit

    Being a Muslim we should believe that all acts against the teachings of islam will not benefit us ever. These billboards with pictures of women in unacceptable modes are not only causing accidents but are desensitizing the whole society. We are ready to watch women wearing anything now that we couldn’t few years back. I ask my children to close their eyes when we come a cross these. Why are we being forced to see these? I PROTEST, These should not be publically displayedin islamic republic of pakistan. Recommend