VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Study finds that roundabouts reduce fatal crashes by 86 percent

Replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts could dramatically reduce the number of deadly accidents in Florida and around the country, according to a recent study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. MnDot researchers looked at accident data from 144 roundabouts in the North Star State, and they discovered that fatal crashes fell by 86 percent after the roundabouts were built. However, the report also reveals that minor accidents increase sharply when motorists are faced with a roundabout rather than an intersection.

According to the report, roundabouts reduce serious accidents by forcing drivers to slow down. Motorists can run through red lights without braking, but entering a roundabout is more like taking a sharp turn. Roundabouts also eliminate T-bone type accidents where one vehicle strikes the side of another. The report says that another benefit of roundabouts is that they force all of the traffic using them to move in the same direction.

While building roundabouts appears to greatly reduce fatal car accidents, they also confuse drivers. The MnDOT study found that property damage crashes surged by 200 percent when roundabouts with two circulating lanes at each approach replace complex intersections. Roundabouts have also been criticized for being difficult for large trucks to navigate and more dangerous for pedestrians.

Accidents that take place in intersections often involve vehicles traveling at significant speeds, but determining who was at fault can be difficult when both drivers claim that they had the right of way. When faced with contradictory accounts of what transpired in the moments before a crash, experienced personal injury attorneys may seek additional information by studying traffic camera or surveillance footage. Motorists who fail to stop at red lights are often distracted, so attorneys may scrutinize the cellphone records and internet usage details of the drivers involved when distraction is suspected and police reports are inconclusive.

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