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Failure to Use Turn Signals Is the Biggest Culprit in Auto Accidents

St. Patrick's Day Collision 3 of 4

Reducing auto accidents may be as simple as using your turn signal, according to a new study.  Although distracted driving is blamed for many car accidents, the real culprit may actually be the failure of drivers’ to use their turn signal.  According to a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers, nearly 2 million accidents a year are caused by drivers’ failure to use a turn signal.

This MSNBC article states that research shows that more than twice as many accidents are caused by drivers who fail to use their turn signal than distracted driving.  In fact, drivers fail to use their turn signals nearly half of the time they change lanes, and a quarter of the time that they make a turn.

“This is a first of its kind report on a subject that amazingly, has never been studied,” said Richard Ponziani, P.E., President of RLP Engineering and author of the report said in the MSNBC article.

Despite the relative ease of using turn signals, drivers often fail to comply with traffic rules regarding their appropriate use.  Ponziani argues that drivers must share on ongoing responsibility for using turn signals, “just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or at a red light.”

Some also suggest that the lack of turn signals epidemic is exacerbated by the fact that the police put much less effort into enforcing turn signal laws than other traffic laws, like speeding and red light violations.

Ponzini promotes the “Smart Turn Signal” system – a mechanism that would automatically shut off a turn signal by timing out after a set delay or detecting when a vehicle has finished changing lanes – as “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.”

At Steinberg Goodman & Kalish, our skilled Illinois auto accident attorneys are dedicated to promoting safe driving habits and protecting the victims of motor vehicle accidents.  We represent the victims of head on collisions, rear end collisions, motorcycle accidents, drunk driving accidents, and distracted driving accidents.

Contact the experienced Chicago auto accident attorneys at Steinberg Goodman & Kalish today to schedule your free consultation to learn more about your rights following an auto accident.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.


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