Indiana roundabout rule takes effect this week

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/26/2017

A new rule in Indiana on the use of roundabouts is slated to take effect on July 1.

The change covers large trucks that navigate through the increasingly popular traffic pattern. Specifically, operators of smaller vehicles will soon be required to yield the right-of-way to large trucks when 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.

Roundabouts have grown in popularity in the state in recent years following the U.S. Department of Transportation backing their installation to slow traffic and reduce the frequency of severe wrecks. A study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that intersections converted to roundabouts show a 39 percent decrease in all crashes and an 89 percent decrease in fatal crashes. In fact, the city of Carmel located north of Indianapolis boasts the most roundabouts in the U.S. The community has at least 100 with another two dozen nearing completion or funded.

The traffic pattern has also cut down on serious wrecks in the city located north of Indianapolis. However, advocates say there still is work to be done to better accommodate large trucks as they maneuver through roundabouts.

The new rule calls for cars, when they see large trucks in roundabouts, “to give them the right-of-way – rather than get up beside them where the truck may need to come over into that lane. Slow down and stay behind them.”

Affected trucks are defined as having a minimum total length of 40 feet or a minimum total width of 10 feet.

For occurrences where two large trucks are approaching a roundabout at about the same time, the vehicle on the right is required to yield the right-of-way.

Offenders could face $500 fines.

Another new law in effect July 1 permits people to rescue animals in hot vehicles without the possibility of being charged with property damage.

After notifying law enforcement, the person is authorized to use a reasonable amount of force to remove the animal. Good Samaritans would also be required to wait at the scene until an officer arrives.

The person would be responsible for paying up to 50 percent of the cost of the damage, unless the vehicle owner opts to waive those costs.

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