A growing number of road safety advocates are urging officials in Texas and around the country to consider replacing traditional traffic lights and stop signs with roundabouts or traffic circles. Roundabouts slow traffic down rather than stopping it, which prevents high-speed broadside or head-on collisions involving vehicles speeding to avoid red lights. Experts say that in addition to reducing traffic accident fatalities and injuries, roundabouts save taxpayers money by reducing the strain placed on emergency services.
Despite being a common sight in Europe and other parts of the world, roundabouts remain rare in the United States. Research has found that they do not reduce the number of accidents, but they do make crashes far less severe. Common objections raised when roundabouts are proposed include their construction costs and the negative views drivers have of them.
In June, lawmakers in North Carolina announced an aggressive roundabout building program after a number of high-profile fatal accidents. The building work is expected to cost about $1.2 million, but officials expect the state’s emergency services bill to be reduced by as much as $2.5 million each year once construction has been completed. They also hope that the roundabouts will reduce intersection fatalities by 89 percent. The roundabout project is part of North Carolina’s Road to Zero initiative that has a goal of eliminating road deaths entirely by 2050.
When their clients have suffered injury, loss or damage in an accident that took place at an intersection, experienced personal injury attorneys might check the scene for traffic cameras that may have captured images of the crash. Establishing liability in these cases generally involves determining whether the plaintiff or defendant ran through a red light, and police reports may not always be conclusive. When no traffic or security cameras are found, attorneys may canvass the area for witnesses who the police failed to question.