Town planners in Texas and around the country are staring to propose building roundabouts instead of installing traffic signals or stop signs at busy intersections. Roundabouts, which are extremely common in Europe, improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion, but they remain rare in the United States. However, that is likely to change in the years ahead as the benefits of roundabouts and the drawbacks of traditional intersections become clearer.
Intersections are dangerous because traffic approaches them from different directions. This means that drivers who fail to notice or ignore red lights often strike other vehicles with great force. Roundabouts eliminate this risk because all of the vehicles that use them move in the same direction and travel at significantly slower speeds. According to a study released by the Federal Highway Administration that was compiled with the assistance of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, replacing an intersection with a roundabout reduces collisions by 37%, injuries by 75%, and fatalities by 90%.
Roundabouts can also drastically reduce commute times and improve the flow of traffic. Towns and cities that have built roundabouts report improved air quality and far fewer rush-hour backups. The mayor of an Indiana town ordered 126 roundabouts to be built after noticing how efficient they were while studying in England. He says the roundabouts have reduced traffic accidents in the town by 40%.
Road users injured in car accidents that take place at intersections often suffer catastrophic injuries that prevent them from working for weeks or months. When pursuing civil remedies on their behalf, experienced personal injury attorneys may seek compensation for this lost income as well as other financial setbacks like property damage and medical bills. If the negligent driver responsible for causing the accident ran a red light, attorneys may use images captured by cameras mounted to traffic signals to establish liability.