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Rural roundabouts may reduce traffic accident risks

It's not unusual for some rural intersections in Montana to be governed solely by a stop sign. While this can be an effective way to manage traffic flow in some areas, it may not be the best option in locations where there's a higher risk of vehicle collisions. In one such area following a fatal accident in North Carolina, vegetation was cleared to make the stop sign more visible, and signs were posted announcing that a stop sign was ahead. However, there were two more serious accidents at the same interaction. The next step taken was to install a rural roundabout, which proved to be a more effective solution.

A roundabout is a setup where traffic is directed around an island in one direction in an almost continuous flow. This type of arrangement doesn't necessarily decrease the number of motor vehicle accidents. However, there is a reduced risk of serious injuries and fatalities. With traffic lights, accident frequency may be reduced, but collisions that do occur are more likely to be serious. What a roundabout does is eliminate the need for drivers to guess if they have enough time to get through an intersection. A driver simply glances to their left to see if anyone else is in the roundabout.

It can cost about $1 million to convert an intersection to a rural roundabout. However, it's estimated that potential savings with reduced injury and accident costs could be twice that amount. Several states, including those with Vision Zero initiative programs geared toward making roads safer for both drivers and pediatricians, are exploring their options with rural roundabouts in areas with accident-prone intersections.

When a traffic accident occurs at any type of intersection, a personal injury lawyer may help determine if another driver was at fault. An attorney might look at results from an accident investigation or recreation. If traffic cam footage doesn't provide clear answers, cellphone records may be obtained to determine if driver distraction could have been a contributing factor. Injured parties may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.

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Towe & Fitzpatrick, PLLC
619 SW Higgins, Ste. O
P.O. Box 1745
Missoula, MT 59806

Phone: 406-203-5148
Phone: 406-829-1669
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