Avoid DUI Arrest: Use Turn Signal When Changing Lanes
The next time you’re driving on the road in Michigan after having consumed alcoholic beverages, make sure you signal each time you change lanes. The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Michigan statute, MCL 257.648, requires drivers to use a turn signal when changing lanes on a highway and is not unconstitutionally vague.
In People v. Hrlic, the defendant was stopped after a police officer observed her change lanes without using her turn signal. She was subsequently arrested for operating while intoxicated. She tried to supress the evidence gathered against her on the basis that the police stop was invalid. The defendant argued that the statute was unconsitutionaly vague and that she was not required to use her turn signal when changing lanes, but the court of appeals disagreed, noting the following in its opinion published on November 29, 2007:
MCL 257.648 states that, ?before stopping or turning from a direct line, [the driver] shall first see that the stopping or turning can be made in safety and shall give a signal as required [.] Therefore, the purpose of the statute is to provide notice of movements along the route that could impact other motorists. We see no reason to make a distinction between movement off the roadway and movement between lanes when the legislative aim is the same for both situations. Accordingly, a reasonable person of ordinary intelligence is not required to speculate about the phrase’s meaning, and MCL 257.648 provides fair notice of what conduct is proscribed. We hold that MCL 257.648 requires drivers to use a turn signal when changing lanes on a highway and is not unconstitutionally vague.
Based on this ruling, the police may stop you for failure to signal when changing lanes in Michigan. That said, the next time you drive after consuming alcoholic beverages (which we do not condone, but happens), if you want to avoid being arrested for operating while intoxicated, then you will not want to give the police a valid reason to stop you, and this now includes signaling each time you change lanes.
Traffic (by Tom Vanderbilt): An alternate title for the book might be Idiots. Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt: ??An alternate title for the book might be ?Idiots? (from the NYT review of Traffic).See also this recent news story:Use turn signal? Why?: $75 TICKET: It's an all-too-common attitude, and it can cost you, cops say,? Chicago Sun-Times (online), August 11, 2008, by Mary Wisniewski...
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