Enforcement is sporadic
The enforcement of failure-to-signal violations varies by state, and most police departments do not track or publish statistics on how many tickets are written each year.
For example, California law requires drivers to use a turn signal 100 feet before an intersection. But according to Lt. David Gilmore of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, that limit is rarely enforced.
In many jurisdictions a failure-to-signal citation is written only if an improper turn results in an accident.
Instead, failure to signal is often a handy tool for police to establish a valid reason to pull over a vehicle that they think is suspicious. A signal violation is a primary offense -- one that legally allows a traffic stop. Police might suspect a driver is drunk, transporting drugs or guilty of any number of other infractions.
That practice can be controversial.
Florida attorney Shane Fischer says that in his experience, failure-to-signal tickets are much more common in poor, predominantly African-American or Latino communities.
Data presented in Chavez v. Illinois State Police, a class-action lawsuit, showed that Hispanics, while less than 3% of the driving-age population in one district, made up 25% of drivers pulled over in discretionary stops for offenses such as failure to signal a lane change.
A brief history of the turn signal
Before blinkers became common, drivers were required to roll down their window and stick an arm out, rain or shine, to signal their direction or a stop.
In Europe, a mechanical device known as a "trafficator," or semaphore, was used into the 1920s; mechanical arms swung out from the car's windshield pillars or doors to indicate direction.
Buick was the first automaker to offer factory-installed turn signals. Its 1939 models featured the "Flash-Way Directional Signal" only on the rear lights. The 1940 models added front indicators and a self-canceling mechanism.
In the seven decades since, the technology hasn't changed much. Turn signals became standard equipment on most cars during the 1960s. In 1968, the federal government required that front turn signals have an amber-colored lens while the rear could be either red or amber. Those standards still exist.
Ponziani's RLP Engineering group has proposed a "smart turn signal" that would flash a reminder if it senses turns that aren't accompanied by signals and automatically cancel a lane-change signal after a certain amount of time.
More from CarInsurance.com:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
there is only ONE reason - the driving habits of people reflect the " IM THE ONLY ONE ON THE PLANET MENTALITY" that has taken over our society.
On the rare occasion that I get the chance, my comment, to those that don't use turn signals:
Me: "Your turn signal is broken."
Them: "No, it isn't."
Me: "It must be. I'd hate to think that you are one of those selfish inconsiderate ****s that is too lazy to flip a switch."
It seems to be indicative of the decline of attention to simple details of civilized life that has overtaken the U.S.A.
People dress sloppier than ever, and not just those Wal-Mart patrons that others joke about; spelling on internet posts is atrocious; clerks at stores do not count change or even say thank you; and talk show hosts on television interrupt and shout.
People are just not as polite as they once were, and it is everywhere.
The average American today is a C student in public school (read stupid and lazy).
The turn signal usage or lack thereof is a minor offence that is part of the daily driving habits of the millions of pinheads that clog the roads.
Failure to maintain distance eliminates the opportunity for others to change lanes causing traffic jams. Waiting for the last minute to cross three lanes of traffic to make an exit causes traffic jams and accidents. Weaving through traffic like a Wildman only to be one car ahead at the next light is hazardous and stupid. The list goes on.
I know there are many that would read this and think, “yeah but I am an excellent driver and can pull that off with no problem”. To those I would ask, what was your GPA at the public school you attended?
But...It's so hard to remember to use that little lever on the left side of the steering column when you're,
2) On the phone and really not paying attention to what you're doing,
3) Reading the paper or some other periodical,
5) Drinking a beverage,
6) Putting on makeup,
or the myriad of other activities that inattententive/inexperienced/rude drivers do...
This is one of my biggest pet peeves when I'm driving, I always use my directionals and that's the way I learned to drive, I honestly don't know how some of the people on the road today ever got their DL's, if in fact they actually have one...
Some people are too lazy to signal but seem to have pleanty of time to text and talk on there phones while cutting me off in traffic.Its just getting worse with our younger generation.Sometimes
I wish I did'nt have to drive on our freeways...too risky.
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
Children from lower income families are at greater risk of suffering accidental injuries and being sickened by food, according to a Consumer Federation of America study.