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Fewer fatalities with rural traffic roundabouts

Rural Connecticut roads might be safer if developers replace traffic-light intersections with roundabouts. While traffic lights reduce the number of accidents overall, the crashes that do occur are more likely to lead to severe injuries. There are not fewer accidents with roundabouts, but there are fewer fatalities and serious injuries.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is building a number of roundabouts throughout the state as part of the Vision Zero program. The initiative, which started in Sweden and has spread through the world, is aimed at reducing road fatalities to zero. One of the roundabouts built in North Carolina cost about $1.2 million, but according to state engineers, it will save $2.5 million annually in costs related to accidents. An 89 percent reduction in injuries is also estimated. One reason roundabouts tend to be safer is that instead of estimating how long it will take to get through an intersection, drivers need only check traffic on the left.

The $1.2 million dollar roundabout replaced an intersection with stop signs. Before the new construction, a woman was killed there in 2011. Initially, authorities put up additional signs to warn about the stop signs ahead. Although there were no more fatalities, there were two additional accidents there that resulted in severe injuries.

Even roundabouts cannot stop all motor vehicle accidents. Drivers may cause accidents by driving and texting, driving while fatigued or for many other reasons. If someone gets injured in an accident, the at-fault driver may be considered responsible for their expenses such as medical costs. A lawyer could help with the legal process of filing a claim.

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