The latest cars, pickup trucks and SUVs in Missouri and around the country are packed with an array of safety features ranging from sophisticated semi-autonomous electronic systems to common horns and sun visors. Auto manufacturers choose to fit new safety features to both please consumers and earn a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, one relatively minor safety improvement that has been shown to reduce rear-end collisions significantly is not currently required to earn the coveted NHTSA designation.
Studies show amber turn signals prevent crashes
NHTSA has been aware of the safety benefits of fitting vehicles with amber rather than red rear turn signals for years. In 2008, a study conducted by the federal safety watchdog found that vehicles with amber rear turn signals were 22% less likely to be struck from behind when turning, parking or changing lanes. NHTSA conducted a follow-up study in 2009 that only involved vehicles that had switched from red to amber turn signal lenses. The agency concluded that just making this minor change reduced rear-end collisions by 5.3%.
Safety benefits do not prompt a mandate
Despite these clear safety advantages, NHTSA has not chosen to issue a mandate that would make amber turn signal lenses required equipment to qualify for a five-star safety rating. This surprises road safety advocates as a turn signal mandate would only increase the price of a new car by about $10. These advocates also point out that amber lenses are required in most other countries. In the past, NHTSA has mandated more expensive safety equipment with less impressive safety credentials. The third brake light that the agency made mandatory in 1986 is far more costly than a turn signal lens and only reduces rear-end collisions by 4.3%.
Suing a distracted driver after an accident
The kind of rear-end collisions that amber turn signals can prevent are often caused by distracted drivers. If you were involved in such a crash, you could have suffered soft-tissue injuries that are not always immediately apparent and can be difficult to diagnose. If you decide to file a car accident lawsuit against the distracted driver responsible, an experienced personal injury attorney may refer you to a medical specialist to ensure that all of your injuries are identified and the damages you seek are appropriate to the harm you suffered.