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Roundabouts are an effective alternative to intersections

Massachusetts drivers may be interested to learn that approximately one-third of all fatalities that are caused by car accidents each year occur at signalized intersections across the nation. This accounts to approximately 2,300 deaths, and 700 of those deaths occur as the result of vehicles failing to stop at red lights. However, it is believed that installing roundabouts may reduce intersection fatalities.

Roundabouts are circular intersections that are designed to keep vehicles moving in a slow, organized manner. Entering traffic is forced to slow down and yield to other vehicles that have already entered the roundabout. Ultimately, the roundabouts are designed to reduce any conflict and collision risks that occur at normal intersections. The Federal Highway Administration stated that converting a two-way intersection into a roundabout potentially reduces risks of serious injuries by approximately 82 percent while converting signalized intersections reduces the risks of serious injuries by 78 percent.

Research has shown that roundabouts have benefits when installed in both urban and rural areas. Additionally, the roundabouts were shown to have benefits under a wide range of different traffic conditions. As such, it was recommended that roundabouts be considered as an alternative for future projects that involve new construction and are federally funded.

While roundabouts can reduce the risk of becoming involved in a collision, most roadways still rely on intersections to control traffic. If a driver fails to stop at a signalized intersection or makes a left-hand turn in front of an oncoming vehicle and causes a car accident, anyone who suffered an injury may have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. In order to be eligible to file the lawsuit, there must be evidence that it was the other driver's negligent actions that resulted in the collision.

Source: US Department of Transportation , "Proven Safety Countermeasures - Roundabouts", December 05, 2014

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