Rules for roundabouts move forward in Senate

By Darrell Crenshaw
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS–Roundabouts are becoming more common at Indiana intersections, but there is still a question about whether residents know how to navigate them.

The Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee heard testimony Tuesday about House Bill 1039 that deals with the safety of roundabouts.

Sen. Michael Crider R-Greenfield, talks on HB 1039 in front of the Senate committee Tuesday morning. HB 1039 deals with yielding safety at roundabouts. Photo by Darrell Crenshaw, TheStatehouseFile.com

HB 1039 would require a driver to yield the right-of-way to a driver of a vehicle having a total length of at least 40 feet or a width of at least 10 feet when driving through a roundabout.

It also would provide that when two trucks approach or drive through a roundabout at the same time, the driver on the right yields to the driver on the left.

The bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, told the committee, “We’re trying to address the challenges semis and longer vehicles have and who is responsible for yielding.”

Driver safety of drivers was the big issue in the hearing.

“We’ve definitely have a reduction in the number of accidents and a large reduction in the number of accidents with injuries,” said John Molitor, legal counsel for Carmel’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

Gary Langston, president of Indiana Motor Truck Association, agreed that roundabouts have been shown to decrease the number of accidents, as well as accidents with driver injuries.

“In 2016, there were 92 accidents in roundabouts, with most being side swipes,” Langston said. “Only one resulted in injury. We think this bill will not only help with safety but also getting more knowledge to our drivers.”

Frequent driver Sen. Mike Delph R-Carmel, always uses roundabouts because his community has more roundabouts than any other city in the United States.

“We use roundabouts wherever we go in Carmel and I’ve never seen an accident in a roundabout,” he said, pausing before adding, “ever.”

The bill passed the committee with a 9-0 vote and now moves to the full Senate.

Darrell Crenshaw is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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