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Car crashes decrease after roundabouts are installed, according to PennDOT

The number of fatalities, injuries, and crashes was reduced when roundabouts were placed at busy intersections, according to PennDOT.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) showed the number of fatalities, injuries, and crashes were reduced when roundabouts were placed at busy intersections. 

Based on data taken by police-submitted crash reports, from 2001 through 2021, PennDOT identified 33 intersections with high crash volume and replaced them with 36 roundabouts. 

Comparing the information of when the roundabouts were installed, to when the intersection only had a stop sign or traffic signal, it is reported that: 

  • Suspected serious injuries were reduced by 76%
  • Suspected minor injuries were reduced by 22%
  • Possible/unknown severity injuries were reduced by 70%
  • The total number of crashes was reduced by 9%

Fritzi Schreffler, a spokesperson with PennDOT, said the cause of the decline could be drivers forced to slow down and pay attention to who’s coming in and how they’re going to get out. 

"Roundabouts are a safer way to maneuver an intersection," she said. "If you think about putting in a stop sign or a traffic signal and then you look at crashes that involve people running red lights or running through the stop signs those often then are what we call a T-bone crash and they can be pretty significant in terms of injuries and fatalities. So instead people have to slow down." 

PennDOT reported that one fatal car accident has taken place at a roundabout but says in previous years before the roundabouts were installed, there was a combined three fatalities at that location.

Schreffler tells FOX43 that installing a roundabout isn’t needed for every busy intersection because space is required to install a roundabout and not every intersection has space. 

“Because we need enough room for putting that whole kind of circular motion in place, we try not to do it where we’re going to have to take a building, that’s not something that we want to do,” Schreffler went on. 

In addition to the 36 roundabouts that were studied: 

  • 38 have been built on state routes
  • 16 are under construction 
  • 15 are in their final design

A link to where the roundabouts are located and how to correctly maneuver one can be found here

Download the FOX43 app here. 

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