Turn Signal Neglect Causes 2 Million Crashes Annually: Study


With all the attention surrounding distracted driving these days, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) wanted to remind the world that one of the most basic driving rules is being neglected, causing twice as many crashes as distracted driving.

A new report published by SAE shows that drivers neglect using their turn signals an astonishing 750 billion times a year, resulting in as many as 2 million crashes. The U.S. Department of Transportation has pinpointed distracted driving to be the cause of 950,000 crashes which means turn signal neglect is actually accounts for more than twice the collisions as distracted driving does.

“This is a first of its kind report on a subject that amazingly, has never been studied. The turn signal is one of the very original automotive crash prevention devices and this simple driver to driver communication device remains extremely effective, but only when it is accurately displayed as required by law,” said Richard Ponziani, president of RLP Engineering and author of the report.

Now of course, there’s probably a lot of turn signal neglect occurring due to distracted driving, but SAE has a proposal that could help eliminate driver neglect: The Smart Turn Signal.

By utilizing vehicle sensors and computer control, drivers would be assisted to use their turn signals regularly in addition to turning off the signal appropriately and accurately. The Turn Signal Assist feature would act similar to the seat belt light, where a reminder would display if a driver neglects to use the turn signal regularly.

In its proposal, SAE stated that no additional cost would be added to the vehicle to implement such a system. The Turn Signal Assist could use the  same vehicle sensors currently used for the Stability Control System (SCS), which is now standard on all vehicles. If anything, there would be savings in cost since the current turn signal mechanism could be tossed out entirely.