In the August 18 issue of Status Report, a newsletter published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency recommends building more roundabouts to help prevent motor vehicle accidents. Roundabouts are circular intersections used instead of stop signs and traffic signals.
Roundabouts and Crash Reduction
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports a 40 percent reduction in overall crashes and an 80 percent reduction in injury-crashes at intersections where roundabouts have been installed. The IIHS believes that roundabouts, by keeping vehicles moving in the same direction at much lower speeds, minimize the risk of right-angle, left-turn and head-on collisions, the most common types of intersection crashes. Such crashes can result in serious injury or even death, and the victims often require the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
RoundaboutUSA, headed by Bill Baranowski, who has helped with the analysis and design of approximately 100 roundabouts in 14 different states, also supports the increased use of roundabouts. According to RoundaboutUSA.com, roundabouts have reduced fatal and injury accidents by as much as:
- 76 percent in the U.S.
- 75 percent in Australia
- 86 percent in Great Britain
According to the IIHS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says, “Roundabouts are the preferred safety alternative for a wide range of intersections.” As reported by the IIHS, the FHWA recommends considering roundabouts “for all new intersections on federally funded highway projects and also existing intersections that need major improvements.”
Other Benefits of Roundabouts
In addition to crash reduction, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety asserts that roundabouts reduce:
- Travel delays
- Fuel consumption
- Air pollution
Moreover, RoundaboutUSA points out that roundabouts increase pedestrian safety by reducing traffic speed and by providing pedestrians with an island in the middle of the roundabout, thus splitting the pedestrian crossing into two stages. RoundaboutUSA also asserts that roundabout intersections are less expensive to maintain than intersections with traffic signals, saving approximately $1,500 in electricity per intersection per year and $3,500 in maintenance costs per intersection per year.
Different Can Be Good
Drivers in Europe and Australia may be more accustomed to roundabouts, but a lack of familiarity with this type of intersection should not dissuade Americans from its use. The IIHS says that even though many motorists express concern when roundabouts are proposed in the U.S., worrying about drivers’ ability to navigate such unfamiliar territory, “opinions quickly change once people grow used to them.”
Even with more roundabouts in the U.S., motor vehicle accidents resulting in driver, passenger and pedestrian injuries will continue to occur. After all, accidents do happen. If you or a loved one is injured by another driver, contact a qualified car accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights today.