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Roundabouts save lives, reduce costs

Louisiana drivers may soon start to notice more roundabouts popping up around the state. That's because traffic safety experts say that one-way, circular intersections can save lives and reduce costs, particularly in rural areas.

For example, North Carolina planners are installing roundabouts in many rural communities in an effort to decrease traffic fatalities. Officials recently constructed a roundabout at one particularly dangerous intersection in Robeson County after drivers kept running the stop sign and causing serious crashes. In 2011, one collision at the intersection took the life of a 21-year-old pregnant woman. The new roundabout cost around $1.2 million to install, but engineers with the North Carolina Department of Transportation estimated it will save the state $2.5 million each year in reduced injury costs.

Unlike stop lights and stop signs, roundabouts force drivers to slow down as they approach an intersection. Roundabouts also only require drivers to look to their left for oncoming vehicles, which reduces the risk that they will fail to yield. As a result, accidents that occur at intersections with roundabouts are less severe than those that happen at intersections governed by stop lights or signs. In fact, the new Robeson County roundabout is expected to decrease injury accidents by up to 89 percent.

Drivers who cause an accident by running a stop light or stop sign could be held accountable in a court of law. Furthermore, an individual injured in such an accident could file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver in order to recover damages. If the claim is successful, the driver could be ordered to pay a financial settlement that covers the plaintiff's medical expenses and other damages. Injured victims could learn more about their legal options by contacting an attorney.

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