Roundabouts are circular intersections with no stop signs or traffic signals. They are commonly used in Europe and Australia, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) would like to see them become more widely used in the United States. In fact, in last year’s Aug. 18 issue of the newsletter Status Report, the IIHS specifically recommends building more roundabouts in the U.S. to improve traffic flow and intersection safety.
Why Build More Roundabouts?
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 40 percent of all car crashes in the U.S. in 2008 were intersection-related crashes. Improving intersection safety can help reduce the number of intersection-related crashes as well as the injuries and deaths they cause. Building more roundabouts may be one of the best ways to improve intersection safety.
In its Aug. 18 issue of Status Report, the IIHS argues that roundabouts “essentially eliminate potentially serious crashes because vehicles travel in the same direction and at much lower speeds.” According to the IIHS, there has been an 80 percent reduction in injury-accidents and a 40 percent reduction in overall accidents where roundabouts have been constructed. Moreover, according to the website Roundabouts USA, roundabouts have helped to reduce the number of car accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities by as much as:
- 86 percent in Great Britain
- 76 percent in the U.S.
- 75 percent in Australia
The Federal Highway Administration is now recommending that roundabouts be considered “for all new intersections on federally funded highway projects and also existing intersections that need major improvements,” according to the Aug. 18 issue of Status Report.
Roundabouts Offer Numerous Benefits
In addition to improving intersection safety — not only for vehicles but also for pedestrians and bicyclists — roundabouts also help to reduce:
- Fuel consumption
- Air pollution
- Travel delays
- Construction and maintenance costs
In fact, according to the website Roundabouts USA, these circular intersections save approximately $1,500 per intersection per year in electricity costs and $3,500 per intersection per year in maintenance costs when they are installed in lieu of traffic signals.
Even though well-designed roundabouts may help to make intersections safer, they cannot eliminate all traffic accidents. If you have been seriously injured or your loved one was killed in an auto accident, contact an experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer.