The vast majority of intersections in California are controlled by traffic lights or stop signs, but studies suggest that building roundabouts instead could prevent thousands of deaths and injuries each year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration, reconfiguring traditional intersections with roundabouts reduces collisions resulting in injury by as much as 75% and fatalities by as much as 90%.
Roundabouts are so effective at preventing serious car accidents because they force drivers to slow down and eliminate T-bone crashes. Cars in roundabouts generally travel at between 10 mph and 20 mph, but drivers who run through red lights or stop signs often move at highway speeds. This is why T-bone accidents that take place in intersections are so deadly. Roundabouts also allow traffic to move continuously so drivers do not have any incentive to act recklessly in order to beat a red light.
Building roundabouts can save money as well as lives. According to figures from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the cost of providing emergency services is reduced by about $2.5 million when traffic lights or stop signs are replaced with roundabouts that cost approximately $1.2 million to construct. Roundabouts also eliminate the need to maintain and provide power to traffic lights, which costs local municipalities between $5,000 and $10,000 per intersection.
Establishing which driver had the right of way is crucial when road users who have been injured in intersection accidents pursue civil remedies. Police reports often contain this information, but personal injury attorneys may find other ways to obtain it if they do not. Attorneys might visit the accident scene to see if red light cameras or security systems may have recorded the events in question, or they could find out if the vehicles involved were equipped with autonomous safety systems that use cameras and record data on black box-type devices.Source: Washington State Department of Transportation, Roundabout benefits.