CARMEL, Ind. – New data released by the Carmel mayor shows as the city has built more roundabouts, the percentage of injury accidents in the city has decreased dramatically.
Carmel built its first roundabout in 1996 at the intersection of Main Street and River Road. That year, the city had 216 accidents where someone was taken to a doctor or the hospital.
With a population of 31,808 in 1996, that averages out to about 7 personal injury accidents for every 1,000 people in the city.
In 2017 with a population of 92,475, Carmel predicts there will be 201 personal injury accidents or about 2 personal injury accidents for every 1,000 people, the city extrapolated the year’s data for the last 15 days of December.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said 115 roundabouts later, that’s a 68 percent decrease in the number of personal injury accidents in the city over the last 21 years.
“The only big change is our roundabouts, because Indianapolis is about the same. Fishers is about the same. The other surrounding communities have stayed about the same over the last 20 years,” Brainard said.
Brainard said the decrease of injury accidents over the last 21 years is a product of tax payer money being invested in public infrastructure.
“That’s what it’s really about, building our roadways so they are as safe as possible,” he said. “We know that humans are always going to error. We are all going to make mistakes. We all do it. The question is can we design our roadways in a safer manner so when that mistake is made it results in a fender bender, not a trip to the hospital or a fatality.”
Carmel Fire Department Public Information Officer Tim Griffin said he and other firefighters have seen the difference in accidents they respond to.
He explained roundabouts produce different types of collisions compared to stop lights or four-way stops.
“We don’t see that side impact. They remove that,” Griffin said. “With removing that side impact on the intersections, we see a decrease in major incidents, like life-altering incidents. Incidents where people have true issues forever. We just aren’t seeing those like we did, which is great.”
The City of Carmel has seen an increase in the number of overall accidents over the last three years, but Brainard attributes that to an increased number of drivers on Carmel roadways.