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Rural roundabouts reduce serious car accident injuries

Though they’re several states apart, Louisiana motorists may be interested in something that North Carolina residents know: roundabouts in rural areas save lives. That state began installing roundabouts out in the country after a 21-year-old pregnant woman was killed in an intersection by a driver who ran a stop sign.

After that accident, the North Carolina Department of Transportation cleaned up the scene to get rid of vegetation and installed signs warning of a stop sign ahead. Car accidents resulting in serious injuries continued to happen. The DOT then installed a roundabout at this intersection. Roundabouts do not eliminate accidents, but since drivers are forced to slow down to go around it, the accidents are minor with fewer serious injuries. The state is installing roundabouts at other rural intersections.

The state says that roundabouts save money. That first roundabout cost $1.2 million to construct, but officials estimate it will save $2.5 million annually in costs associated with car accidents and injuries. According to experts, roundabouts decrease injuries by 89 percent.

The state is part of Vision Zero, a cooperative program that brings together law enforcement, emergency personnel, road engineers and educators in an effort to eliminate fatal accidents entirely for all road users. The program started in Sweden more than 20 years ago.

Safety features such as roundabouts may not eliminate car accidents entirely, and people are still going to be hurt. Innocent victims of car accidents might be compensated for their injuries though a personal injury claim. A personal injury attorney may explain eligibility requirements for such a claim to the liability insurance company and the types of compensation available, and the attorney may be able to assist in getting this compensation.

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