Study: OOIDA members more likely to use turn signals properly

| 8/20/2004

A highway safety group says owner-operators are three times more likely to properly use turn signals while changing lanes – OOIDA members, the say, are four times more likely to do it right.

The Safe Highway Operations Workgroup, a not-for-profit organization based in Canfield, OH, compiled the statistics as part of an ongoing study in which the group takes video motion pictures of commercial traffic. According to Tracy W. Bradford, president of the workgroup, his organization has processed more than 5,600 videos of commercial motor vehicles in the past three years. About 24 percent of those vehicles – 1,337 – changed lanes during the tape.

As part of the study, the group looks for proper and improper lane changes. Bradford says his group defines a proper lane change as one made with ample clearance, and where the driver’s turn signal flashes at least three times before he or she initiates the turn.

Of the 1,337 commercial motor vehicles filmed making a lane change in the study, about 12 percent used the turn signal properly, giving three or more signal flashes before initiating the lane change.

Of the remaining vehicles studied:

  • About 40 percent gave the signal just as the lane change started;
  • About 40 percent signaled after initiating the lane change;
  • Roughly 7 percent of commercial vehicles did not use a signal at all.

Of the trucks caught on tape, Bradford’s group checked whether they were company trucks or owner-operators. One thing they used to identify owner-operators was the presence of an OOIDA sticker.

What they discovered was that trucks that appeared to be driven by owner-operators were nearly three times more likely to give proper lane change signals than those that were obviously “company” trucks. And trucks that had stickers or other markings indicating membership in the Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association were more than four times more likely to give a proper lane change signal.