Under current law, drivers in Virginia are sometimes not legally required to use their turn signals while driving. State law requires that a driver must only use their turn signal when another vehicle on the road may be affected by the movement of their car.
On Tuesday, the House of Delegates voted down a legislative measure that would have expanded the requirement of turn signal use on Virginia roads outside of other motorists. The move was aimed to enforce the usage of turn signals to cover situations where pedestrians would be affected by a vehicle’s movement.
Senate Bill 874, introduced by Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) would have, according to the bill, “Require[d] drivers to give a signal plainly visible to pedestrians or other drivers upon backing, stopping, turning, or partly turning from a direct line whenever any pedestrian or other vehicle may be affected by such movement.”
With the original language of the bill from its January filing, Howell proposed that turn signals would be required to be used at all times while driving, regardless of pedestrian or other vehicle traffic. However, the bill was amended in the House Transportation Committee situations involving pedestrian traffic. The legislation passed unanimously through the Senate in January.
In the morning vote, the bill failed 36-58-1, not tracking on party lines. After a reconsideration move was pushed to a vote, the action was defeated on a mostly partisan basis by a 48-49 vote.
Delegate Chris Collins (R-Frederick) was opposed to expanding the law to cover pedestrians. According to a report from WTOP, he said on the House floor, “What this does now is says that if some guy is standing at the corner and he’s not trying to cross the street, and you turn without using your turn signal, that is now probable cause to pull you over.”