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Do Roundabouts Actually Make Intersections Safer?

Roundabouts are popping up on roadways across the nation under the premise that they reduce congestion at intersections and decrease the number of serious injuries from auto accidents. However, research from the Albany Times Union has revealed the number of collisions actually increased in Albany and other New York cities after roundabouts were installed.

The research focused on 20 different intersections in the capital area and discovered the number of crashes increased at 15 of those locations after traditional four-way intersections were replaced with roundabouts. Car accidents were even more likely to rise — significantly in some cases — at roundabouts with two lanes. Although crashes were indeed reduced at roundabouts built by the state, they rose at almost every single one developed by towns and counties. One roundabout in Malta went from having an average of 7.8 to 45.7 crashes per year. Another in Bethlehem rose from an average of 9.6 to 38.3 annually.

Driver error a common issue

Representatives from the state Department of Transportation say this increase of accidents is not so much an indictment of the unsafe nature of roundabouts as it is how people have not been properly trained in how to drive through them. They say motorists tend to be overly aggressive with speeding through roundabouts and fail to yield to cars with the right-of-way.

Roundabouts have succeeded in reducing congestion, and studies show accidents at roundabouts are, on average, less severe than those at standard four-way intersections because drivers are not nearly as likely to crash head-on or in high-impact T-bone collisions. But the rise in the total number of accidents has been concerning, to say the least.

If you believe your car wreck was at least partially due to poor road design or construction, contact the skilled auto accident lawyers at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmish & Tartaglia, LLP.

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