Siegal & RichardsonLLP

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Reducing traffic injury risks with rural roundabouts

Busy interactions in rural parts of California are sometimes managed with stop signs. In one area like this, a fatal accident motivated officials to clear away excess growth and post signs telling drivers about the upcoming stop sign. Unfortunately, it's a step that didn't prevent a pair of additional accidents from occurring in the same spot. It was ultimately the decision to replace stop signs at the intersection with a rural roundabout, which forces traffic to flow around an island in one direction, that made a noticeable difference.

Traffic lights can reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents, but accidents that do occur are more likely to be serious. With roundabouts, injuries are often minor and fatal injuries are less likely to occur. This is because the design of a roundabout eliminates the need for a driver to try and figure out if they have time to get through an intersection. Drivers simply have to look to their left to see if they're good to go.

The roundabout that was installed when traffic signs were removed at that one intersection cost just over $1 million. However, engineers estimate savings in accident and injury costs could be twice that amount. Many other municipalities are exploring the possibility of replacing stop signs and traffic lights at bustling rural intersections with high accident potential with roundabouts. Some states are combining such efforts with other steps to make roads safer for motorists, bikers, pedestrians, and other roadway users.

With motor vehicle accidents, there's always the possibility that the negligence of another drive may have been a contributing factor. If this is what's suspected, a personal injury lawyer may review police reports and accident investigation results. Records from mobile devices are sometimes reviewed as well to determine if a driver was distracted at the time of the accident. Legal action may result in appropriate compensation for medical costs and other expenses and financial losses.

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