Today’s automobiles have multiple safety features, airbags, automatic emergency braking, and electronic stability control. With all of this attention to safety, modern cars are the safest they have ever been, with one exception, red turn signals. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2008 found that cars with red turn indicators are 22% more likely to be rear-ended, or hit from behind, than cars with orange turn signals. A simple change to the color of turn indicator lights could reduce the number of rear-end collisions in California.
In 2009, NHTSA performed further analysis to rule out any inherent biases caused by other characteristics, such as separation between elements or lens type. The second study found that a switch from red to amber reduces rear-end collisions by 5.3%. For comparison, a mandate in 1986 requiring a third brake light created a 4.3% reduction in rear-end collisions.
At this time, the NHTSA is not contemplating a mandate requiring amber turn signals, but it is considering adding them to the list of standards that make up a Five Star Safety Rating. The NHTSA has already used the safety rating program to encourage car manufacturers to equip motor vehicles with automatic emergency braking.
A rear-end collision can cause serious injuries for the driver and passengers of the car that was struck from behind. Neck and back injuries are commonly caused by rear-end collisions. Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, the driver of the car that rear-ended a vehicle will be found at fault for the accident. A person who has been injured in a rear-end collision may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and related expenses. An attorney with experience in personal injury litigation can review an accident case to determine whether compensation could be warranted.