Do Roundabouts Reduce Accidents?
In Texas, cities like Fort Worth, Allen, and Frisco have installed numerous roundabouts — intersections that are circular and controlled by yield signs instead of traffic lights and stop signs– and have many more planned. Other cities in Texas are soon to follow suit. But for many Texans, the big question is: do roundabouts really reduce accidents? Are they better than the more common four-way stop?
The Safety of Roundabouts
The short answer is, yes, they do appear to be safer in some respects. Many studies have shown that roundabouts are the safest of all intersections, likely due to the lower speeds that are needed to navigate them, reduced collision angles, and less pedestrian traffic.
The City of Fort Worth has a web page dedicated to roundabouts that says that since converting to roundabouts in many intersections, accidents have reduced by as much as 40 percent. Injury accidents have also been reduced by 75 percent, and there’s been a 90 percent reduction of fatal and incapacitating motor vehicle accidents.
A study of 17 rural intersections with speeds of 40 miles per hour and higher found that the injury crash rate per million vehicles using a roundabout reduced fatal car accidents by about 84 percent.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety found that roundabouts decreased injury crashes by 40 percent as compared to intersections that used stop signs or traffic lights.
Another study found that roundabouts reduce your car’s carbon monoxide emissions by 29 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent. This is a direct result of increased traffic flow and fewer motor vehicle stops and starts.
The most significant advantage of roundabouts is that they almost completely eliminate the most severe types of crashes, such as T-bones and head-on collisions.
The design of roundabouts is what causes fewer motor vehicle accidents in Texas and throughout the United States. They are designed to have traffic move in only one direction which eliminates right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions.
While car accidents still do happen in roundabouts, they are normally not as severe, and the severity of the injuries is reduced significantly because the vehicles are moving at a slower speed.
Additionally, roundabouts benefit older drivers as well. One study conducted in 2007 of six communities where a roundabout replaced standard intersections found that two-thirds of drivers aged 65 and over found the roundabouts easier to navigate.
It looks like roundabouts are here to stay in Texas. Many cities, towns, and communities have recognized that roundabouts are a perfect solution to improve motorist safety, reduce traffic congestion, and reduce gas consumption. Studies have shown that only a third of the population supports the construction of more roundabouts, but once a roundabout is in place, 70 percent of drivers are in favor of building more.
It’s important to note that roundabouts cannot replace every intersection, such as places where the topography won’t allow it, or where there is traffic flow that is unequal in the intersecting roads. However, don’t be surprised if a roundabout pops up in your Texas city in the near future.
That being said, if you’ve been involved in an accident on Texas roads, whether in a roundabout or otherwise, due to another driver’s negligence, then you should reach out to an experienced car wreck attorney. They can inform you of your rights and the legal recourses available to you. Having excellent legal representation is one of the best steps you can take following an accident to ensure you aren’t held liable for something that wasn’t your fault, and that you are able to receive the compensation you need and deserve after a wreck.
Don’t delay in reaching out to the experienced attorneys at Fears Nachawati for your free, no-obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Please call (866) 705-7584 or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.