Turn Signal Neglect Causes 2 Million Crashes Annually: Study

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

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.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • Roger Groot Roger Groot on Mar 23, 2014

    I am a safety advocate,a professional driver and one of my pet peeves is the lack of turn signal usage.I brought letters to several law enforcement locations in Tennessee and Georgia and of the seven I received two letters from a Major from the Georgia State Patrol and Chief of Police from Cleveland,Tennessee and both of these gentlemen agreed this should be addressed and.were going to remind their officers about the lack of turn signal usage.If the lack of turn signal usage caused TWICE the number of accidents this should be classified as BREAKING NEWS given the extensive focus and reporting on the dangers of texting and cell phone usage when driving.