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A new year brings new turn signal laws

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2023 | Auto Accidents

With a new year comes new laws throughout the country. Indiana is no different, with a new turn signal law taking effect as 2022 gave way to 2023. State legislators claim that the previous regulations were, at best, broken. Law enforcement officers cited challenges in enforcing the law in dynamic and fluid environments.

The change involves a specific measured distance where the use of a turn signal is mandated prior to turning. The previous law required motor vehicle operators to signal turns or lane changes at 200 feet. Those traveling 50 miles per hour have 300 feet to comply.

A more “reasonable” solution

Following a 69 to 2 vote in the state house and a 44-0 vote in the Senate, legislators passed House Enrolled Act 1167, which puts an end to specific distances before turning. Instead, requirements are in place for drivers to signal before lane turns or changes within a “reasonable amount of time.”

Critics of the new law see it as a way for drivers to more easily continue their avoidance of using a turn signal, with enforcement challenging at best.

State Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, cited that the mandated distance presents challenges in compliance because most urban and suburban areas in the state have intersecting streets less than 200 feet apart. It is also impractical to exit a parking lot or make a quick lane change when a traffic hazard is in the driver’s path.

The old law also presented challenges for legislators as pulling out of the Senate parking lot at the Statehouse gives them only 170 feet, making staying within the law impossible.

Instead of the traditional July 1st being the day new legislation is enacted, drivers throughout the Hoosier State will have to adhere to the new law as of January 1st, 2023.