Do Roundabouts Prevent Accidents?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) supports the use of roundabouts as a means of preventing traffic accidents. In the Aug. 18, 2011, issue of its newsletter Status Report, the institute recommends utilizing these circular intersections more widely in the United States in lieu of stop signs and traffic signals. As the IIHS and other groups continue to push for increased safety measures in vehicles and on roadways, personal injury attorneys continue to protect the rights of accident victims. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, a qualified Sarasota injury attorney can help.

Do Roundabouts Prevent Accidents?

Bill Baranowski, president of Roundabouts USA, has been involved in the analysis and design of around 100 roundabouts in 14 different states. According to his website, the United States currently has about 2,600 modern roundabouts. The IIHS reports that at intersections using roundabouts, the institute has seen a 40 percent reduction in total car accidents and an 80 percent reduction in car accidents involving injuries. Furthermore, according to the Roundabouts USA website, roundabouts have contributed to reducing crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries by as much as:

  • 76 percent in the U.S.
  • 75 percent in Australia
  • 86 percent in Great Britain

Roundabouts help reduce crashes by forcing vehicles to keep moving in the same direction and at lower speeds than in a normal four-way intersection. The one-way, slower flow of traffic minimizes the risk of left-turn and head-on collisions, two of the most common and dangerous types of intersection accidents. Because roundabouts have proven successful in reducing intersection crashes, the Federal Highway Administration recommends that roundabouts be considered when new intersections are being constructed or existing ones are being improved on federally funded highways.

Are There Any Other Benefits?

According to the IIHS and the Roundabouts USA website, these circular intersections also reduce:

  • Travel delays
  • Fuel consumption
  • Air pollution
  • Construction and maintenance costs

Roundabouts used in place of traffic signals cut electricity costs by approximately $1,500 per intersection per year and maintenance costs by approximately $3,500 per intersection per year, according to Roundabouts USA. Additionally, roundabouts also improve pedestrian safety, not only because they force drivers to slow down, but also because they split the intersection into two stages by providing a circular island in the middle.

Even with safer intersection designs, accidents can still happen. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident that was not your fault, or if your loved one was killed in one, contact an experienced Sarasota injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.

Categories: Auto Accidents