Every driver has their personal pet peeves. Today’s blog deals with an issue that is a personal annoyance to your author; the lack of usinig a turn signal. I would understand why a driver might not use a turn signal if it was a difficult thing to do, such as operating a whole other pedal. Using a turn signal, however, has to be one of the easiest things to do while driving! If we can make the effort to send a dangerous text, we need to make a better effort to signal turns. So what are the exact rules for using a turn signal?
In Kansas, the statute relating to turn signals can be found at KSA 8-1548. This statute make it necessary to use a turn signal not only in a turn, but also when switching lanes or generally moving the vehicle from right or left. Most drivers know this even if it is not practiced often. What most drivers might not know, however, is how long must one give the signal? In Kansas, this statute states the signal must be given continuously for 100 feet.
For prosecutors, proving this strict liability offense would not seem too difficult. Most officers could simply testify whether they saw the signal being used at all, much less for 100 continuous feet.
For the defense, it seems that a complete lack of a turn signal would not win you much sympathy from the Judge or Jury. There might be an argument, however, if a signal was used, but not for a continuous 100 feet. How many drivers truly know that the signal must be used for that distance? If they do, how can you measure it exactly as you drive? I believe a Judge or Jury would be very sympathetic to such an argument if a good faith effort to signal was made.
Clearly the legislature is attempting to encourage good driving behavior by requiring the use of a turn signal, but one does wonder how technical the laws need to be by defining a required distance that might be hard to measure as you drive?
Until next time, drive safe!