Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Indiana State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R) [Updated]

We end up with bad laws and disrespect for law enforcement because the public keeps electing officials who need mittens with a string attaching them through their sleeves.

Freeman, a Republican state lawmaker from Indianapolis, has submitted a bill to eliminate state penalties for failing to use turn signals before turning or changing lanes. Senate Bill 124 would allow drivers not to have to use turn signals 200 feet before changing lanes or turning, nor would they have to use turn signals 300 feet before changing lanes in a 50-mph zone. I think that’s what it says. In addition to being mind-numbingly irresponsible, the bill is also confusing. Freeman claims that his bill was intended to end confusion about turn signal requirements. Here’s a rule of thumb: when your bill to eliminate confusion causes confusion, it’s not a good bill.

And you’re an incompetent idiot.

What is confusing about turn signals? You turn one on when you are about to make a turn or change lanes. Not as you have already started to turn the vehicle—before. Long enough before that other drivers can react. This isn’t hard, even though it seems to be for an astounding number of drivers on the roads.

19 thoughts on “Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Indiana State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R) [Updated]

  1. My reading of that article indicates that there are currently two statutes on the books for using turn signals. Statute IC 9-21-8-24 says you have to use turn signals and use them a reasonable amount of time before you turn so other drivers will know what you are doing, but does not specify the exact number of feet that “reasonable” entails.

    Statute IC 9-21-8-25 also says you must use turn signals but specifies the exact distances at which you must use the turn signals; 200 feet unless the road has a speed limit above 50 mph, in which case it is 300 feet.

    Freeman is proposing to eliminate the specific distance standard and stick with the reasonable distance standard because in some cases the specific distances are not reasonable. Some roads are actually shorter than 200 or 300 feet, making it impossible to comply with the law. Sometimes people turn onto a road less than 200 or 300 feet from where they intend to turn again, also making it impossible to comply with the law.

    This makes sense to me. I’m not sure what this particular legislation proposal has to do with forcing people to put substances in their bodies against their will. Is there some context I am missing?

    • You may not be missing anything. The linked news report states “Getting a ticket for not using a turn signal could be a thing of the past if a Republican state lawmaker from Indianapolis has his way.
      The legislation could completely eliminate penalties for failing to use turn signals before turning or changing lanes.” If that’s wrong, and I not only tried to read the bill, I also read the convoluted explanations of both a lawyer for the legislature and Freeman, and I still couldn’t figure out why a law like this was needed. If its effect would be to eliminate penalties for not using a signal, and that’s what the news article says, then that’s insane.

      By only point was that this sounded, as described, like a particularly silly example of someone, a presumed conservative, objecting to a regulation that makes a citizen do something, thus interfering with personal liberty. I can’t think of any other reason to eliminate penalties for not using a turn signal. There was no evidence raised of a welter of unfair signal tickets. The only example in the article was a guy who said, “I got a ticket before for not turning my turn signal on, so that is why.”… He was making a right-hand turn at a stoplight, and a cop was right behind him. “It said you could turn right on red, and I did. Well, I got pulled, so that was it.”

      Well, he should have gotten a ticket. I still don’t see what the confusion is, or the problem; I can’t even imagine it, and I’ve been driving a long time.

      Maybe the news piece is as incompetent as the bill. Maybe my point is incompetent too, but based even on what you explain, I don’t see it, and the bill is still incomprehensible. I’m sorry I even brought it up, but the headline is unambiguous: “Indiana GOP lawmaker’s bill would repeal law requiring turn signals.” Usually local news is trustworthy on such matters. Tell you what, I’ll kill the crack about the vaccine; it was gratuitous anyway.

      • I think they may have updated the article after you read it but before I did, so it was clearer what the legislation was about when I read it. If you look at the bottom there is now a section titled “Statements to I-Team 8 after story aired” that clarifies things.

        It looks like the original article rushed to mockery, and was sort of corrected later. Freeman is not proposing to eliminate turn signal requirements, just one of the two duplicate laws that he thinks are confusing.

        I can picture the scenarios he is talking about. Say you exit onto a small road off of a highway, then turn into a parking lot 100 feet later, but use your blinker for the 100 feet you traveled on that small road. Technically you broke the IC 9-21-8-25 law and could get a ticket even though you used your blinker the entire distance you traveled. Your blinker usage was reasonable but not sufficient to meet the requirements of law. Are you supposed to exit the highway an extra exit before do that you can meet the 200 feet distance requirement? This sort of scenario comes up a lot where I live in Texas because we have access roads that run the full length of the highways. If you use a GPS to tell you when to exit you would be breaking a law that required 300 feet constantly because speed limits in Texas are ridiculous and so are the roads. I don’t know what the roads in Indiana are like though, so I don’t know how often such scenarios would arise. I could still see major issues in residential areas that have roads shorter than 200 feet. What if cops set up blinker traps and ticketed everyone who turned off a 50 foot side street that did not have room to comply with a 200 foot blinker rule? Reasonable police officers obviously wouldn’t do that, but it is theoretically possible.

        • But that’s the point: they don’t do it. There is no “blinker trap” problem, anywhere. There is n’t enough ticketing of people who don’t signal, not too much.

          I read those “clarifications” in tiny print. The headline was the same as now, and the only example offered for the bill was a guy who says “I was in a right turn only lane, and I turned,” Yeah, and you should have had your blinker on, asshole. Either the story misrepresents the bill: “Getting a ticket for not using a turn signal could be a thing of the past if a Republican state lawmaker from Indianapolis has his way. The legislation could completely eliminate penalties for failing to use turn signals before turning or changing lanes.” or the bill is pointless. Apparently the answer is both.

          I have twice had accidents because drivers didn’t signal. Not signalling every turn or lane change is irresponsible, thus unethical, regardless of what the law says.

          • I agree that people should use turn signals. I use mine, and so should everyone else. It is common sense.

            The example the article gave is stupid, and if that is what the legislation is about then the legislation is stupid.

            I just don’t think that the article is accurately portraying the purpose of the legislation. I THINK the article is being snide and ridiculous, either because the author did not originally understand the purpose of the legislation or because the author is a typical modern day journalist who likes being a snide asshole for clicks.

            The media is awful, and actively prevents the public from understanding what is actually going on because it is more lucrative to be a snide asshole chasing clicks, it’s more fun to be a snide asshole chasing clicks, and journalistic standards disappeared some time ago probably never to be seen again.

            Why keep the public informed when you can have more fun making people mad for no reason? I know, let’s run an article pretending this stupid conservative we hate is trying to eliminate turn signal laws! That should be good for a laugh! We will watch people have conniptions on Twitter all day because they believed us and are picturing the chaos that could ensue if that guy was actually trying to do what we are saying he is trying to do even though he’s not!

            Or maybe the author was just lazy and didn’t bother asking Freeman the purpose of his proposed legislation before running the story. That would have taken time and effort and that would be…work. Journalists don’t get paid to work, they get paid to get clicks!

            Or maybe I am wrong and the legislation is trying to do exactly what you think it is and the clarification is actually a load of crap. Who knows? If only there were an organization that could tell us! Like…a paper that came out everyday and told people what the facts were! Wouldn’t that be awesome!

            I am convinced at this point that reading or watching the news actively makes you dumber than you were before you tried to inform yourself. I have not personally observed my local news being any more trustworthy than the national news.

              • What this really highlights is that many news headlines (and the articles as well) cannot be taken at face value because all too often they are written as click-bait or to promote a viewpoint. The in-depth look done by Null Pointer often is necessary to get the facts. I tried to do some of the same research on this one, and by the time I had gotten a good enough understanding and returned to this site, I saw NP’s research and explanation. In accord with that, I believe a further update to this post is needed given that the change in the law would not eliminate the need to use a turn signal. Frustrating? Yes. Helpless? Maybe, but only in the sense that it may take quite a bit of digging and analysis to separate the narrative from the facts and time can be a limiting factor on that.

  2. How about we put Drivers Ed back into high school? How about we cut the red tape so more people will be inclined to teach it? Then they will learn the proper rules. Perhaps we will all be safer on the road. Problem solved. I won’t bore you with the 20 hours of “online” drivers ed that I partly watched with my kid. Suffice it to say it’s more of a “what happens when you drive, drink and/or do drugs” vs actual driving rules.

  3. From the cursory glance I took it looks like the BMW Driver meme formed a lobby so they could now legally not use turn signals while texting on their bluetooths and complaining about poor people. 😉

  4. I am almost perfect in my turn signal use, but I would be fine getting rid of the requirement.

    Nonetheless, use of the signal is necessary at least as a form of politeness and etiquette. But, you probably can’t enforce that without a law.

    At the same time, the use of specific distances is unreasonable for many reasons already mentioned, but I will throw in a couple more.

    I just drove back from Tennessee and probably had to change lanes more than 100 times (thinking about it, that is probably a low estimate a 700 mile trip. Having a distance requirement on a two-lane freeway in heavy traffic is stupid. When I pass a semi on the left, my signal is to tell the semi driver I am moving back into the slow lane AND to tell the tailgater directly behind me that I am moving over so that he does not have to try and pass me on the right. AND, it is signal that I am moving over immediately, not in 100 feet or 200 feet. Much of such signaling occurs on such timeframes.

    I also moved one lane too far to the left on an interchange. I realized it at the last minute and had to signal my way back over at the last minute. Having a distance requirement would have meant I would have been forced to head to Cincinnati in order not to break the law and NO ONE should ever be required by law to go to Cincinnati.


  5. Just out of curiosity, what’s a turn signal? From the photo, it seems there is a stick thingy sticking out of the side of the steering column with nice shapes and forms on it. I always wondered what that was for, besides a convenient place to hand my baseball cap while driving.


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