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PennDOT: Roundabouts are safer

Roundabouts that have become the bane for drivers across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania are proving to be safer than the intersections they replaced.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The first roundabout in Luzerne County opened in 2015 and it came with a lot of outcry from drivers trying to get from Interstate 81 to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Confusing, a mess, a tangled web, were some of the reactions from drivers in its earliest days.

Seven years later, 36 roundabouts were studied by PennDOT to determine the overall safety of the new traffic pattern.

Three more roundabouts have been built in Luzerne County since 2015. One along Route 415 in the back mountain opened three years later.

Now, PennDOT says the numbers prove what the department has long held to be true. That roundabouts are, on the whole, safer than traditional intersections on busy roads.

According to PennDOT, the total number of crashes at these intersections is down by 9 percent.

Suspected serious injuries have reduced to 76 percent.

The PennDOT study does not break down the statistics individually by roundabout, nor does it take into account increases in volume.

But perhaps most tellingly, PennDOT reports only one deadly crash in any of the 36 roundabouts that were studied.

According to PennDOT, the same intersections were responsible for at least three fatal wrecks before the roundabouts were installed.

At least 31 more roundabouts are currently being built or in the final planning stages across Pennsylvania.

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