Capitol Roundup: Roundabouts reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE — PennDOT this week announced that department data shows crashes, injuries, and fatalities decreased at 11 roundabouts after they were installed.

“Our data shows that modern-day roundabouts reduce crash severity and injuries while improving traffic flow,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “This underscores why roundabouts are becoming more commonplace in Pennsylvania and beyond.”

PennDOT recently reviewed data for 11 roundabouts on state routes at intersections that were previously stop or signal controlled. These roundabouts were reviewed based on having at least three years of data available before and after the roundabout’s installation. These 11 are all the roundabouts on state routes that met the review parameters.

Department data based on police-submitted crash reports spanning the years 2000 through 2017 shows:

• Fatalities were reduced by 100 percent (from two to zero).

• Serious injuries were reduced by 100 percent (from seven to zero).

• Minor injuries were reduced by 95 percent (from 19 to one).

• Possible/unknown severity injuries were reduced by 92 percent (from 49 to four).

• Crashes causing only property damage decreased by 2 percent (from 49 to 48).

• The total number of crashes dropped 47 percent (from 101 to 54).

In addition to the 11 roundabouts meeting the review criteria, 32 other roundabouts have been installed on state routes and 26 are in design.

Roundabouts are frequently installed to address intersections with safety issues, but may also be installed to improve traffic flow as well as other reasons such as traffic calming and to facilitate pedestrian mobility.

Although roundabouts are safer and typically more efficient than traditional signalized intersections, they may not be the best option due to topography or other reasons, such as property impacts, capacity issues and proximity to other intersections.

Use VotesPa.com to check

your registration, district

As the Oct. 9 voter registration deadline approaches, Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres this week reminded Pennsylvanians to check their registration status at votesPA.com — which now includes voting district information that reflects the new congressional district boundaries.

“Individuals who want to be sure they are registered can go directly to votesPA.com to verify their registration and polling place,” Torres said. “Voters can also find in which congressional, state senate and state house districts they live. This is a new feature we added to make voting easier.”

Oct. 9 is the deadline to apply for new voter registration or make changes to an existing registration before the Nov. 6 general election.

Eligible citizens who are not registered to vote can apply, and already registered voters can update their information, quickly and conveniently at register.votesPA.com.

Individuals wishing to register to vote must be:

• A citizen of the United States for at least one month before the election.

• A resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual wants to register and vote for at least 30 days before the election.

• At least age 18 on or before the date of the election.

On Nov. 6, Pennsylvania voters will be electing the governor and lieutenant governor, one U.S. Senator and 18 U.S. House members. Even-numbered state Senate districts and all state House seats also will be on the ballot.

Pa. veterans should

register with DMVA

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) appreciates the sacrifices made by all veterans and wants to ensure everyone leaving the military receives every benefit they earned.

“To best prepare yourself and your family for the future, it is important to register with the DMVA, apply for federal health care benefits and safeguard important military paperwork,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Eric Weller, DMVA’s deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs.

Veterans can sign up for the DMVA Veterans Registry by computer or mobile device at www.register.dmva.pa.gov. In addition to veterans, family members and people who work with veterans can sign up for the registry to receive helpful information about programs, benefits and services.

Information about how to apply for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits can be found by going to — www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/apply/.

Also important is for veterans to safeguard their DD-214/215 and other military documents by filing them at their county courthouse of record. The DD-214 is an official document that contains the information needed to verify military service and help to avoid verification issues later in life. The DD-215 is used to correct errors or make additions to a DD-214.

Additionally, any National Guard member who has not been ordered to active duty will not receive a DD-214. The discharge documents for National Guard members are the NGB-22 and NGB-23.

State panel is developing

security reviews for schools

The School Safety and Security Committee established within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) by Act 44 of 2018 recently adopted criteria to guide the completion of school safety and security assessments.

Under Act 44, the committee was tasked with establishing criteria to be used when conducting an assessment, which is a strategic evaluation of a school’s facilities and programs used to identify potential safety and security threats.

Physical assessment suggestions include items such as landscaping and lighting; building access; parking and delivery processes; securing utilities; signage; key control and identification; visitor procedures; monitoring and surveillance; and emergency planning. School climate and behavioral health assessments include early identification and intervention of student behavioral health concerns.

“In developing these criteria, the committee recognizes that every school is unique,” Chairman Charles Ramsey said. “The criteria are meant to be an aid to school officials with respect to what they can do to create a safer, more secure learning environment.”

The committee also adopted initial registration criteria for individuals with knowledge and experience in matters of school safety and security who can conduct assessments. Over the next few weeks, PCCD will develop and launch an online website for persons interested in registering with the committee as a vendor to conduct assessments. More information on this process will be provided online at PCCD’s School Safety and Security webpage at https://www.pccd.pa.gov/schoolsafety/Pages/default.aspx.

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By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle/

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle/