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NWI.com on 12/29/2022 by Dan Carden
A quirk in Indiana’s turn-signal statutes that puts just about every motorist traveling the Crossroads of America at risk of being pulled over by police at just about any time goes away Sunday.
Current law requires drivers in Indiana to use turn signals any time they’re about to make a turn or change traffic lanes.
The Indiana Code also mandates that the signal begin at least 200 feet before the turn or lane change, or 300 feet if the vehicle is traveling in excess of 50 mph.
During the 2022 legislative session, numerous Hoosier lawmakers observed that the second provision is impossible to comply with in most urban and suburban areas where streets often intersect less than 200 feet apart.
In addition, they said, there’s no practical way for a driver to signal for 200 feet before, for example, pulling out of a parking lot or making a quick lane change because of a traffic hazard ahead.
So they decided to change the law.
Signaling a turn still is required every time a motorist is about to make a turn or change traffic lanes.
But House Enrolled Act 1167, sponsored by Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, deletes the 200 feet (or 300 feet) minimum turn-signal distance and replaces it with a directive that motorists merely signal all turns and lane changes before safely completing them.
“The law should be clear in my opinion, and people should know what the law is,” said Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, who led the effort to rewrite the statute. “The 200 feet was undoable in a lot of situations.
“Anybody who has ever pulled out of the Senate parking lot at the Statehouse, turned right onto Ohio Street and turned right onto Capitol Street has violated the law. It’s impossible to comply with because it’s only 170 feet.”
The change, originally contained in Senate Bill 124, ultimately was incorporated into House Enrolled Act 1167 and approved 69-2 by the House and 44-0 in the Senate.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the measure into law March 14, records show.
The effective date, however, was delayed until Jan. 1, 2023 — instead of the usual July 1 start for new Indiana laws — to give the Bureau of Motor Vehicles sufficient time to revise the turn-signal portion of its driver’s guide and license test.