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Roundabouts can save lives and money

Thousands of road deaths and injuries could possibly be prevented each year in Georgia if the state replaced traditional intersections with roundabouts, according to several studies. After looking into the safety benefits of roundabouts, the Federal Highway Administration and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety concluded that serious injuries would be reduced by as much as 75% and fatalities by up to 90% if traditional intersections were replaced with traffic circles.

Roundabouts provide these safety dividends because they make drivers reduce speed and completely eliminate T-bone accidents that occur when the front of a vehicle strikes the side of another. At intersections, T-bone crashes are usually caused by motorists who run a red light or stop sign at high speed. Vehicles in roundabouts generally travel at a speed of 10 mph to 20 mph. These reduced speeds are a reason why the IIHS and FHA also discovered that roundabouts reduce pedestrian injuries by about 40%.

In addition to saving lives, building roundabouts can also save cash-strapped local municipalities money. A set of traffic lights drains local coffers of between $5,000 and $10,000 every year in electricity and maintenance costs. While roundabouts cost about $1.2 million to build, they generate savings of about $2.5 million per year in reduced emergency services costs, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Establishing who was permitted the right of way is a key element in an intersection accident lawsuit. Unfortunately, police reports do not always provide this crucial information. In such a situation, a lawyer might visit the scene of the accident to look for witnesses who the police failed to question and cameras that could have recorded the events. Legal counsel could also see if the at-fault vehicle has autonomous safety systems that gather information with cameras and then store it on hard drives under the hood.

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