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AutoBlog: REPORT: NHTSA may mandate amber turn signals

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Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

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Some cars have red turn signal lamps, while others have an amber hue. Big deal, right? The National Highway Traffic Safety Association thinks it is, after finding that amber lights are 5.3% more effective at preventing crashes than the red blinkers. NHTSA came to that conclusion after comparing crash data of vehicles that switched from one color to another. Europe already mandates the amber turn signal, and NHTSA says that data from other agencies supports their findings. As it is, American cars sold in Europe already receive legal turn signal units - even if they aren't sold that way in America (see Chevrolet's C6 Corvette as an example).

NHTSA is now asking the public whether it should mandate amber turn signals for all vehicles sold in the States. Unfortunately for automakers, amber turn signals aren't exactly high fashion here in the U.S., as the vast majority of the signals are of the red blinking variety, likely because of cost considerations. While it's true that the auto industry is probably suffering from a case of far too many regulations, anything that can improve safety by up to 5.3% without costing an arm and a leg is probably worth considering. If NHTSA gives automakers a reasonable amount of time to implement the changes, automakers may be able to fit the change into the next design cycle.

[source: Kicking Tires]

REPORT: NHTSA may mandate amber turn signals originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Jul 2009 12:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blah, amber is usually ugly on tails. Red works perfectly fine if people would just freakin' pay attention to the road and cars around them.

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Back in 1989, I figured this was only a matter of time... I'm surprised we got to 2009 before it came up.

Personally, I hate ambers. They are too bright and the reds work just fine. If my brakes failed and I had a choice between two cars to crash into, I'd take out the amber blinking one first. ;-)

And I agree with Croc... half the time nobody uses them anyway.

I'd only support this if they also require remotely controlled seat tasers to help encourage drivers to "pass left, keep right... I don't give a $#!* if your already doing the limit!". Think how safely and conservatively everyone would drive to avoid being zapped.

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NHTSA should trade: US gets mandatory amber turn signals, and side markers in Europe start following the US rule of amber in front and red in the back. Uniformization of lighting rules across the globe could save a few bucks in certification/homologation spending.

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Personally I would be fine with either, lets get people to use the dame turn signals as way too many people do not use them anyway.

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I think mandating LED turn signals would be better than mnadating the color. The faster blinking pattern is a lot more noticeable. Also, regardless of color, I think separate signals would help, so brake lights and signals are separate lamps.

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Yesterday, I followed a G6, and the red tails on that thing suck. They look uber cheap, too.

Is there anything about the G6 that doesn't suck or scream "uber cheap"?

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I think mandating LED turn signals would be better than mnadating the color. The faster blinking pattern is a lot more noticeable. Also, regardless of color, I think separate signals would help, so brake lights and signals are separate lamps.

This is what needs to be done. Having separate lights for turning and stopping is what is needed, and in part the amber color is what would accomplish that, but just because it is red i don't think that is the problem, its that they are incorporating them into the brake light too.

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Having turn signals that are separate from the brake lamps and are amber in color (the bulb, not necessarily the plastic cover) would go a long way to improving safety and reducing irritation while driving, at least for me. I would no longer confuse people who pulse their brakes when coming to a stop as wanting to change lanes (if their other side is obscured). I would be able to tell immediately if someone is braking and activating their turn signal, or just braking.

Mandating side blinkers would also improve safety with minimal cost.

This of course will not do anything for people who don't use their blinker.

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Getting people to actually use them would be a far more beneficial step than mandating what color they are.

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Getting people to actually use them would be a far more beneficial step than mandating what color they are.

Yes, but how would you go about doing that? There's really no way to enforce it effectively. Police can ticket offenders but we all know that won't do much. More driver's education would help, but again it won't guarantee anything and wouldn't be easy to implement.

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Domestic automobile manufacturers should incorporate the rear ambers without having to have the government tell them to do it. I know traditionalists don't like ambers, but they can be clear lenses with yellow bulbs or LEDs.

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Having turn signals that are separate from the brake lamps and are amber in color (the bulb, not necessarily the plastic cover) would go a long way to improving safety and reducing irritation while driving, at least for me. I would no longer confuse people who pulse their brakes when coming to a stop as wanting to change lanes (if their other side is obscured). I would be able to tell immediately if someone is braking and activating their turn signal, or just braking.

Mandating side blinkers would also improve safety with minimal cost.

This of course will not do anything for people who don't use their blinker.

I absolutely hated this about my Monte Carlo with having a single, bi-filament bulb at each tail lamp. So many times I'd be following a same generation Lumina or another Monte Carlo thinking, "I hope my car doesn't look like that when I'm signaling and slowing for a turn." Sure, it made me slow down like normal; however, at first I had no clue which way the driver was indicating to turn because the damned brake light was flashing as well. For so many other cars like this, I usually looked for the tail lamp that lit in conjunction with the third-brake light to figure out which way the driver was indicating... if they were even indicating at all!

I appreciate the more definitive amber indicator light to provide me better information at a moment's glance.

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Ohhhh, America gets more like Europe everyday, soon y'all will be speaking German ... :P

The part that puzzles me is Why?

Why would we want to emulate the "has been" nature of Europe?

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I don't get the scenario where another car is between you and the signalling car, and you have to know if it is just slowing, or slowing & turning.

You must slow for either instance, there's still a vehicle between you that you have to contend with/follow, and quite frankly- the more you are unsure about another's intention, the more you are forced to pay attention & be defensive. That's going to do a lot more on the road that amber signals (which I hate, BTW). The 'safer' things are on the road, the more time/brain power people will devote to texting & NAVing.

That's it: eliminate turn signals all together. :smilewide:

Edited by balthazar
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Domestic automobile manufacturers should incorporate the rear ambers without having to have the government tell them to do it. I know traditionalists don't like ambers, but they can be clear lenses with yellow bulbs or LEDs.

I don't mind this as much, but no way NHTSA or GM would be so brilliant. I like the idea that I could change the color of my blinkers with a 3057A or 3057R bulb... like in a late model GTO. I'm not saying the NHTSA would deem my "upgrade" legal, but at least is would be legally (and tastefully) better than those "Altezza" taillight upgrades from a few years back.

I hate the ambers on the back of my Bonne, and when I get a little spare time, (and I start molding my own plastics) they are going away.

One thing I wanted to add is that it seems like most modern cars, like since 2004, already have separate blinker bulbs anyway. Even on trucks. makes it a PITA to wire your trailer, though. I wonder if the NHTSA would want to require ambers on trailers?

Ohhhh, America gets more like Europe everyday, soon y'all will be speaking German ... :P

You are aware we nearly made that decision back around 1776... so yer post is about 200-odd years behind.

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The part that puzzles me is Why?

Why would we want to emulate the "has been" nature of Europe?

yeah, even with the push to seem to want to make our whole country more like Europe. If Europe is so great......why doesn't everyone try to move there.

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I hate the ambers on the back of my Bonne, and when I get a little spare time, (and I start molding my own plastics) they are going away.

No need to mold plastics, there are clear red paints that work very well at "redding out" amber lenses. ;)

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So we've gone from the big 3 putting ambers on some cars, to the imports changing there lenses to red, back to pushing ambers again. :duh::stupid: At least the DOT and industry will finally make up their minds...mabye.

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