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Government data shows the benefits of switching to roundabouts

Connecticut drivers may be interested in some information about roundabouts, an alternative to the common signaled intersection in the U.S. This other type of intersection has many benefits, the largest of which is a reduction in total collisions and, particularly, serious and fatal vehicle crashes.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about one-third of all car accidents occur at any one of the estimated 300,000 intersections that have traffic signals. This amounts to over 2,000 deaths annually. About 7,000 of these deaths, they say, are due to drivers ignoring red lights and causing collisions. The USDOT says that roundabouts are a safer alternative to signaled intersections, which offer additional operational benefits.

A roundabout is a circular intersection that moves traffic around a central island with entrances at each end of the intersection. Vehicles entering the roundabout are forced to yield to vehicles already traveling around it. The entire intersection is a low-speed environment, as well.

The USDOT claims that increased usage of roundabouts, rather than signaled intersections, can potentially result in a location seeing a 44- to 48-percent reduction in intersection crashes. Severe and fatal accidents could be reduced by up to 88 percent in any given intersection, depending on the type of signal originally at the location. These benefits, they say, are apparent in both rural and urban environments.

While changing the type of intersection may prove beneficial, negligent drivers still pose a serious threat to other drivers on the road. When a driver fails to operate their vehicle in a safe manner and causes a collision, that driver may be responsible for the damages that they cause. An attorney with experience working with car accidents may be able to analyze the factual situation and bring a civil lawsuit against the liable party.

Source: US Department of Transportation , "Proven Safety Countermeasures - Roundabouts", December 08, 2014

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