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Lack of Turn Signal Use Poses Threat to Motorists

While national attention has turned to the dangers of distracted driving in recent years, another threat has been plaguing our roads for some time now that has gone largely unnoticed. That threat is the lack of turn signal use, which could be causing as many as 2,000,000 car accidents annually. Pennsylvania is no stranger to this type of incident, and by reviewing Pennsylvania car accident resources it is clear that car accidents are a real problem in this state.

The Society of Automotive Engineers just released a study that highlighted the rampant misuse or failure to use a turn signal. They found that 48 percent of the time, motorist either do not use a signal when changing lanes or fail to turn the signal off and instead drive with no knowledge that their blinker is still on. The issue is not only when changing lanes, but also when people actually are turning. They are called turn signals for a reason, yet people fail to signal when turning at a 25 percent rate. When working out the figures this means motorists are failing to use their signal 2,000,000,000 times a day, according to MSNBC. 

This new data has actually shown that failure to use a turn signal is more deadly than distracted driving. The study links 2,000,000 accidents to lack of signal while national data shows that approximately 950,000 accidents are caused by distracted driving.

The president of RLP Engineering and author of the study, Richard Ponziani explained that this is the first report of this kind and he was surprised no one ever looked into it before. He said that, “all drivers have an ongoing duty to use it, just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or at a red light.”

The rampant disregard for turn signals paired with an apparent ambivalence from law enforcement indicates that people believe this issue is no big deal, which is probably furthering the epidemic. Ponziani suggests that either the police take more action in enforcing the use of signals, or that better technology should be placed in vehicles to promote turn signal use.

The new technology suggested by the study is referred to as “Smart Turn Signal,” and it would increase the car’s ability to know when the turn signal should be turned off. It would be much like the system already in place, which shuts off the turn signal once a turn is completed, but this system would add the ability to automatically turn off the signal after changing lanes.

Ponziani explained that the Smart Turn Signals “are the perfect complement to the Stability Control System since Stability Control predominately prevents single-vehicle crashes, whereas the Smart Turn Signal prevents multi-vehicle crashes.”

It is unclear how much impact the study will have with raising awareness of this issue, but hopefully it will result in a decline of car accidents caused in this manner. Improvement takes time, and it would be wise for motorists, law enforcement agencies, and car manufacturers alike to work together to improve this problem and perhaps even eliminate its presence on our roadways.

Guest post provided by: Console & Hollawell P.C.

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