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Turn signal abuse leads to 2 million car accidents each year

Even if they still do it, nearly everyone in Louisiana knows that distracted driving is an increasingly common cause of crashes, serious injuries and death. While approximately 950,000 car accidents can be attributed to distracted driving, a new study by the Society of Automotive Engineers indicates that the people of Lake Charles have more to fear from people who do not properly use their turn signals.

Approximately 2 million accidents are caused each year because drivers are not using their turn signals or leaving them on when they don't need them. This is over two times the number of accidents caused by distracted driving, but police have been much less strict in enforcing turn signal policies.

Unlike texting while driving or other forms of distracted driving, there is a relatively uniform requirement that drivers use their turn signals. Whether it is changing lanes or making a turn, letting other motorists know where a driver plans to go is not a courtesy but an obligation. When drivers fail to do so and cause an accident, they can be sued for the damage that results.

In an effort to combat the number of car accidents that stem from turn signal abuse, an alternative turn signal has been talked about. The "Smart Turn Signal" would automatically turn off after a vehicle has changed lanes or if the signal is left on for too long. The signal could also notify drivers who consistently don't use their turn signals when making a lane change or turning a corner, reminding them that they can and should use their turn signals.

Source: MSNBC.com, "Turn signal neglect a real danger, study shows," Paul A. Eisenstein, May 1, 2012

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