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Use of roundabouts to reduce serious injuries and fatalities

Arizona drivers may have noticed that the state is installing more and more roundabouts at intersections, doing away with the traffic signals that used to govern the directional flow of traffic through the intersections. While many people may find roundabouts annoying, the state has good reason to utilize them more and more while phasing out the four-way stop and signal-controlled intersections.

Across the country, one-third of all intersection fatalities occur at signal-controlled intersections. This represents approximately 2,300 deaths each year. Furthermore, about 700 people die yearly in intersection crashes due to other people running red lights. While signal-controlled intersections can be a good way to inform drivers of when it is appropriate to proceed through an intersection, roundabouts have been shown to be significantly safer than such intersections.

Two-way stop intersections can see up to an 82 percent reduction in serious injury or fatal accidents through the installation of a roundabout, as well as a 44 percent reduction in overall crashes. When signalized intersections are converted to roundabouts, studies have demonstrated a 78 percent decrease in severe crashes and a 48 percent decrease in overall crashes.

Although not all accidents can be prevented, roundabouts can help reduce the incidence of intersection accidents by providing better control of the flow of traffic and forcing drivers to slow down significantly as they enter the roundabout. Many people run red lights due to distracted driving, and installing roundabouts can reduce the incidence of this problem. No matter how safely a person drives, however, they may still be involved in a serious car accident due to the negligence of another person or road conditions. Anyone injured in a car accident may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in order to recover compensation for their accident-related losses.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, "Proven Safety Countermeasures - Roundabouts", November 29, 2014

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