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Study: Turn signal neglect more dangerous than distracted driving

Within the last couple of years, traffic safety advocates have focused a great deal of attention on ways to reduce texting while driving in North Carolina and throughout the entire country. Many studies have shown that distracted driving can actually be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and results in far too many car accidents. Such accidents claim thousands of lives each year. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving contributes to about 950,000 minor and serious car accidents per year.

A new study, however, conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers, surprisingly found that turn signal neglect actually results in twice as many crashes compared to distracted driving crashes. Based on the organization's research, drivers don't properly use their turn signals 750 billion times a year on U.S. roadways. Failing to use a turn signal contributes to as many as 2 million motor vehicle accidents per year, the study states.

To promote the use of turn signals when driving, the organization touts Smart Turn Signal technology as the solution to the problem. Smart Turn Signal technology relies on vehicle sensors and computer controls to shutoff turn signals when drivers forget to turn their signals off after making a lane change or a turn. However, this technology can now also detect when a turn signal should be used.

Vehicles equipped with the Turn Signal Assist feature will detect when a driver habitually forgets to use a turn signal for lane changes and turns. When this bad habit is detected, a reminder will be displayed for forgetful drivers, much like a seat belt reminder.

Although drivers can certainly help to reduce the number of accidents on our North Carolina roads by simply putting down their cell phones and using their turn signals, researchers also believe that this new technology to improve turn signal use could significantly reduce the number of crashes on our roads each year.

Source: Click On Detroit, "Society of Automotive Engineers study says turn signal neglect results in twice as many crashes as distracted driving," May 1, 2012

1 Comment

Despite the research that has been done, there does not appear to be enhanced enforcement of turn signal abuse and more often than not police do not use turn signals. Statistics related to enforcement should be available to the public online.

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