Did our amber turn signal campaign bring results at FCA?

Long ago, aCarPlace — this site — started a campaign to bring amber turn signals back to the United States. Lighting expert Daniel Stern has pointed out that amber turn signals save lives, by making it clear and obvious that a brake light is a brake light, not a turn signal (especially when cars have a burned out light on one side). Research has shown that even that momentary clarity has a measurable impact, when blown up to a national scale.

amber turn signals

Fiat Chrysler today announced both a new automatic braking system, and the greater use of amber turn signals starting with the 2019 Ram, Wrangler, and Cherokee. Not all trim levels will have them, but amber-colored turn signals will apparently be available on some trims or as an option. It’s a start.

FCA also announced that its automatic emergency braking strategy would move. The company committed to an effective sensor-fusion technology back in 2016, which reduces false alarms and prevents Tesla-like “the camera didn’t see it” failures. The 2019 Ram 1500 is the first of their vehicles to consolidate the cameras and radar sensors behind the rearview mirror; in the past, the radar sensors were in the grille. That may increase reliability, since the radar sensor will be shielded from the elements. In any case, Ram was able to move the maximum speed for reaching a full stop to prevent a front collision from 25 mph to 31 mph.

The 2019 Ram 1500 is also the first pickup with dual LED projectors in an adaptive system which directs beams according to steering-wheel input.


  1. I applaud your efforts to push for amber rear turn signals, and I believe a public component to your campaign would help the cause. There are many enthusiast forums which have been popping up with the same basic thread asking why don’t automakers use amber in North America across all models like they do in the rest of the world. I believe a petition with many thousands of signatures may be of help. People are going through the trouble of buying Euro lights for their vehicles and reprogramming them at great expense. Here are just some examples of recent forums:








    There are countless more. I think when gathered together there is something here, considering many manufacturers may assume people don’t notice this stuff.

    Thank you.

  2. Note: It seems my previous comment did not post due to links I included.

    I applaud your efforts for what you are doing, and had sent you several links of recent forum threads that have popped up all over the place with the same idea: people want amber turn signals, and are willing to go so far as ordering the Euro sets and reprogramming their vehicles’ computers are great expense to be able to have the safer amber signals. That is quite remarkable considering that manufacturers probably assume buyers don’t even notice the color of rear turn signal.

    I believe your campaign could use a public component, perhaps an ongoing collection of signatures and comments. You could easily collect thousands over time that show people are using amber rear turn signal color as a criteria for buying. The way to do it would be to add posts to the multiple forums out there. I don’t want to send you links again for fear of this comment being rejected, but if you just google amber rear turn signals forum you will see many threads on the first few pages. Jalopnik had one with hundreds of comments.

    Please keep pushing, because once a few manufacturers do it the rest will follow!

    Thank you again for your efforts to bring universal amber rear turn signals to North America.

  3. If one has noticed, the advent of LED’s in taillights have created a law change specifically in Europe. Rear turn signals are now red on most European cars because of LED’s brighter capacity. Well, an amber LED is still brighter than a red one. It is foolish by N. America to not mandate rear amber turn signals as they are safer, period!

  4. Rob — the European vehicles you see here with red LEDs all have amber turn signal LEDs throughout the world, except in North America. It is disappointing that even companies like Volvo who pride themselves on safety have followed the flock at Mercedes and BMW with the red signals. LEDs can be made to look red but flash amber, so it gives design freedom in terms of the vehicle’s appearance. And yet, many of the European models that employ that technique in Europe resort to the “dumbed down” red turn signal color in North America.

    • True, BMW’s, Mercedes and especially Volvo, all came standard with ambers as the US allowed such color even in the 60’s. What I fail to understand is why increase the cost of production by changing the taillights just for N.America..

  5. A friend of mine is an engineer with Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany. A few years ago I was in Germany and went to visit him and get a tour of the factory. I asked why the North American versions were red while the rest of the world was amber. He said it was his understanding that it started when Germans would buy a car in the US and ship it back to Germany. It was because the exchange rates were more favorable. To stop that they started with the all in one red taillight unit for US cars and apparently a complicated coding that prevents a straight swap of the lights. Volvo is a straight swap BUT you have to remove the entire rear bumper to do it.

    I’ve been looking at EVs lately and none of them have amber indicators. I saw a Korean YouTube review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and saw amber but then a US review and it was red. Actually the Korean model has a separate amber indicator while the US version the entire brake like blinks. They’re built in Korean – just leave them all the same! So far, from what I can see, only the Polestar 2 has amber.

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