Two states have enacted rule changes that cover large trucks maneuvering through roundabouts.
The states of Indiana, Washington and Wisconsin have acted in recent years to address concern about how to maneuver with large trucks through the increasingly popular traffic pattern.
Roundabouts have grown in popularity in recent years after the U.S. Department of Transportation backed their installation to slow traffic and reduce the frequency of severe wrecks. In fact, state departments of transportation report that intersections converted to roundabouts show a 75% decrease in injury crashes and a 90% decrease in fatal crashes.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety supports the traffic design.
Arizona roundabout rule change
A new Arizona law gives large trucks permission to use two lanes to navigate through circular intersections, including roundabouts.
Truck drivers are authorized to deviate from a lane in which the operator is driving “to the extent necessary to driver through a roundabout.”
Sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman David Cook, R-Globe, the rule change applies to trucks with a total length of at least 40 feet or a total width of at least 10 feet.
Advocates say the change allows trucks to straddle lanes approaching a roundabout. They add that the traffic maneuver is intended to help ensure vehicles do not attempt to pass while a large truck is navigating through the traffic pattern.
Additionally, operators of smaller vehicles are required to yield the right-of-way to large trucks when approaching or driving through roundabouts. The rule applies when the driver of the smaller vehicle is driving through the traffic pattern at or near the same time or “so closely in time as to present an immediate hazard.”
The rule also applies for operators of large trucks. Specifically, the truck operator on the right is required to yield to the truck driven on the left.
Signs notifying travelers about the rule are required at all roundabouts. Sign exceptions apply to intersections or junctions on a local road or collector street.
Previously HB2288, the new law takes effect in August.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also signed into law a bill that revises statute to cover large vehicles traveling through roundabouts. It takes effect Oct. 1.
HB1014 applies the new rule for any truck, bus, emergency vehicle, or recreational vehicle with a total length of at least 35 feet or a total width of at least 10 feet.
Additionally, operators of smaller vehicles are required to yield the right-of-way to large trucks when approaching or driving through roundabouts. The rule applies when the driver of the smaller vehicle is driving through the traffic pattern “at the same time or so closely as to present an immediate hazard.”
The new law also apples for operators of other large vehicles. Specifically, the vehicle operator on the right is required to yield to the large vehicle on the left.
The rule does not include a requirement for signs to notify travelers about yielding the right-of-way to trucks.
A monetary penalty is included for failure to adhere to the rule. Specifically, violators would face fines up to $81.
Indiana and Washington
Similar pursuits at the Indiana and Washington statehouses failed to advance.
The state of Washington has included permission for large trucks to use two lanes to navigate through circular intersections for nearly three years.
The Washington Trucking Association said at the time the change would allow trucks to straddle lanes approaching a roundabout.
A House bill was intended to address another safety concern for all vehicles traveling through affected intersections.
HB1532 sought to require vehicle operators to use turn signals prior to exiting a roundabout or traffic circle.
An Indiana truck rule for roundabouts has been in place since 2017. At the time, elected officials in the Hoosier State cited communication with professional drivers for pursuing the rule.
One Senate bill addressed concern about how the state decides where to construct roundabouts.
SB352 called for making sure locals get their say before the traffic pattern is added.
The bill sought to prohibit the Indiana Department of Transportation from planning or constructing a roundabout until the agency has received input and approval from a local governing board that has control over the intersection or junction where the roundabout would be located. LL