He may be a jerk, but he’s no criminal!

Posted: February 7, 2014 By: Bill S

At Eastwood, we always encourage everyone sharing the roads to drive responsibly. Unfortunately, not everyone does…

You’re zooming down the road (at the speed limit, of course) and you come up behind a car with its left turn signal blinking. So like a safe driver, you slow down, anticipating his left turn. But he never turns left…he just goes merrily—and slowly—along his way, straight as an arrow. Meanwhile, the lane on your right is stacked, and you’ve got no room to get around him.

Don’t you just hate that? It’s infuriating, but it’s not against the law. At least not in Indiana.

Recently, a police officer in Kokomo, Indiana pulled over a Cadillac because the Caddy had a left turn signal blinking for quite a while, even though it was traveling straight down the road. After the officer pulled the Cadillac over, he detected “an overwhelming amount of air fresheners”.

The driver said he had just cleaned the vehicle and thought it needed freshening up. The officer ordered him out of the car and had a drug dog conduct a search. The dog found two small bags of marijuana in the center console.

A three-judge panel took up the question of whether this traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment (guards against unreasonable searches and seizures). The judges looked to the applicable statute to determine whether the officer had reason to believe he witnessed a crime being committed when he saw the turn signal blinking. The court determined that the specific motor vehicle laws presented only dealt with failure to use a signal, not the overuse of a signal.

The court reversed the driver’s misdemeanor conviction, which carried a suspended jail sentence. They said, “Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence obtained pursuant to an illegal traffic stop. We reverse (the) conviction for possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.”

But the driver’s still a jerk.

On the other hand…some people never use their turn signals even when they ARE turning! The Society of Automotive Engineers conducted research that found that drivers neglect to signal when switching lanes 48 percent of the time; for full turns, drivers don’t use their signals when making turns 25 percent of the time. Motorists neglect to use turn signals a total of two BILLION times a day or 750 BILLION times each year!

In other words…either way, they’re jerks.

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