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New HOS rules in effect Sept. 29; clearing confusion about the new rule changes 9/28/2020 Friday Short Haul -- Schneider's remote orientation, 14-hour rule change comments, license renawal extension, ATA's DOL response 9/25/2020 Feds come out with their own definition of independent contractor status 9/23/2020 Amazon casts around for freight haulers; FMCSA news for drivers 9/21/2020 Friday Short Haul - WIT photo contest, Teamsters challenge HOS, $1 billion for infrastructure 9/18/2020 Speeding was most-cited violation during Safe Driver Week 9/16/2020 Carriers, others, honor drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 9/14/2020 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA wildfire declaration, hair drug testing, shift plus load pay 9/11/2020 FMCSA looking to put under-21 drivers on interstate hauls 9/9/2020 New AB 5 bill specifically targets truckers for enforcement 9/7/2020 Friday Short Haul - AV test tracking tool, split-duty proposal comments, and mandatory hair testing 9/4/2020 FMCSA helps bankroll Trucking Fatigue Meter to fight driver drowsiness 9/2/2020 FMCSA looking at split-duty rule change; extending 14-hour day 8/31/2020 Friday Short Haul - Travel centers announce special offers for drivers in September 8/28/2020 Trucking landscape could look different after Nov. 3 8/26/2020 More indictments in New Orleans area accident insurance scams 8/24/2020 Friday Short Haul - North Dakota road trains, Brake Safety Week, drivers not returning to duty, opposition to Mexican truckers 8/21/2020 Platooning passes real-world tests; new company emerges as leader 8/19/2020 Helping victims of crashes earn drivers Highway Angel awards 8/17/2020 Friday Short Haul - Trucker's last ride, FMCSA extension, autonomous trucks 8/14/2020 Test vehicles did not fare well during AAA's driving assistance evaluations 8/12/2020 Spotted lanternfly sightings on the increase 8/10/2020 Friday Short Haul - JKC Trucking announcement, truck stop break-in, WIT top women businesses 8/7/2020 FMCSA reminds drivers of 'adverse conditions' exemptions to HOS rules 8/5/2020 SmartSense mitigates collision and 'sitting duck' situations 8/3/2020 Friday Short Haul - FBI ELD hacks warning, students hack trucks, OOIDA asks for HVUT suspension 7/31/2020 Women In Trucking announces 2020 photo contest 7/29/2020 California publishes major new freight plan 7/27/2020 Friday Short Haul - Love's requires masks, 10-million-mile driver, brake check blitz, and TuSimple truck incident 7/24/2020 COVID-19 gives the average trucker a chance to "attend" FMCSA safety summit 7/22/2020 Overdrive honors Small Fleet Champs 7/20/2020 Friday Short Haul - States push for electric semis, fewer student new-hires, troopers in a truck 7/17/2020 Nearly 300,000 drivers would lose jobs if hair testing was mandated 7/15/2020 Trucking Truth owner/founder gets 3-hour spot at Road Dog Trucking Radio 7/13/2020 Friday Short Haul - Operation Safe Driver Week, Canadian border, fuel cell semis hit the road 7/10/2020 Werner, DOE earn FMCSA ELD and HOS exemptions 7/8/2020 TuSimple announces its Autonomous Freight Network to expand driverless freight hauling throughout the nation 7/6/2020 Friday Short Haul - House passes Moving Forward Act, YRC gets a bailout, and trucking jobs on the increase 7/3/2020 Group pens letter objecting to proposed EV charging stations at highway rest areas 7/1/2020 Carriers' virus response gets kudos at TCA virtual meeting 6/29/2020 Friday Short Haul - Convoy brokerage, CLP waiver extended, $2 million amendment passed, two sentenced for CDL fraud 6/26/2020 Nuclear verdicts strangling trucking companies; not so, say lawsuit attorneys 6/24/2020 Eight carriers in lawsuit for not poaching other companies' drivers 6/22/2020 Friday Short Haul - Post-virus speeds return to normal, $2 million insurance minimum proposed, WIT looking to honor an influential woman 6/19/2020 FMCSA extends 3 COVID-related waiver declarations 6/17/2020 Truckers say they will refuse to enter cop-defunded cities 6/15/2020 Friday Short Haul - Truckers love guns, freight broker leader resigns, avoiding riots 6/12/2020 Cargo theft on the uptick during COVID-19 era 6/10/2020 California voters will get a chance to scrap AB 5 6/8/2020 Friday Short Haul - Prime crash verdict, Teamsters applaud INVEST Act, OOIDA opposes broker bond changes 6/5/2020 Dwell and detention times begin to decrease post-virus 6/3/2020 CRST fighting another battle over driver poaching 6/1/2020 Friday Short Haul - Driver shortage is over, Amazon's brokerage goes national, and lawyers are after carriers for nuclear verdicts 5/29/2020 Freight industry considering post-COVID-19 strategies 5/27/2020 FMCSA to consider increasing HOS for autonomous drivers 5/25/2020 Friday Short Haul - Trimble MAPS, rate of fatalities increase, Comcar bankruptcy, driver pay on the rise 5/22/2020 FMCSA: Long-awaited final HOS revisions announced 5/20/2020 2016 trucking documentary released to YouTube for public viewing 5/18/2020 Friday Short Haul - Reusing morgue reefers, ATRI research priorities, FMCSA HOS declaration 5/15/2020 WIT honors two women in the trucking industry 5/13/2020 Freight brokers push back against "price gouging" accusation 5/11/2020 Friday Short Haul - Tank truck revenues decline, former Arrow CEO gets early prison release, not-preventable crashes 5/8/2020 ATRI and OOIDF team up for comprehensive COVID-19/trucking survey 5/6/2020 U.S. military has unique needs for truck platooning 5/4/2020 Friday Short Haul - Truckers protest low rates, 1 million masks given to drivers, SecurSpace app finds parking 5/1/2020 WorkHound analyses what drivers think about the COVID-19 crisis 4/29/2020 Group pushes back on temporary increased weight limits 4/27/2020 Friday Short Haul - 'Thank God for truckers!' CA state senator proposes bill to suspend AB5, TA furloughs 3,000 workers 4/24/2020 Truckers say distracted driving is on the rise 4/22/2020 Trucking leaders think some recent changes might become permanent in the industry 4/20/2020 Friday Short Haul - "Your papers please," skills testing waiver, masks required in Canada 4/17/2020 Truckers report in on their treatment during these COVID-19 times 4/15/2020 FMCSA acts quickly to keep the new-driver pipeline flowing 4/13/2020 Friday Short Haul - Weight limits increase, food trucks not wanted in rest areas, FMCSA extends HOS exemptions 4/10/2020 Trucking industry concerned about state licensing agency closings 4/8/2020 California AB-5 advocates react to carriers' COVID-19 good deeds 4/6/2020 Friday Short Haul - Schneider's error, Change.org petition, Teamsters Canada demands 4/3/2020 Authors: 'Legacy' carriers ignore autonomous technology at their peril 4/1/2020 COVID-19 scare: State gun laws come under scrutiny 3/30/2020 Friday Short Haul - Inspection blitz postponed, COVID-19 webinar, FHA urges states to keep rest areas open, fewer cars means faster truck deliveries 3/27/2020 DOT and FMCSA issue COVID-19 responses 3/25/2020 Starsky Robotics calls it quits 3/23/2020 Friday Short Haul - Weigh station parking, rest areas reopen, HOS waiver expanded, freight prices increase 3/20/2020 Truck drivers mostly exempt from coronavirus lock downs 3/18/2020 HOS rules relaxed for COVID-19 relief effort 3/16/2020 Friday Short Haul - Western Express recovers from Tennessee tornado, driver involved in two accidents six minutes apart, another carrier quits 3/13/2020 Daimler's electric vehicles and autonomous trucks continue real-world testing 3/11/2020 Predictive technology increases driver safety, benefits carriers 3/9/2020 Friday Short Haul -- Coffee drinking drivers, Amazon coronavirus email, FMCSA safety summit 3/6/2020 AIRman introduces no-crank technology to landing gears 3/4/2020 Roadmaster shows how to reduce driver turnover 3/2/2020 Friday Short Haul - CBD users beware, 8,000 violations revealed in Clearinghouse, laptop theft lands Alabama trucker in prison 2/28/2020 Canada company offers easy access to spare trailers 2/26/2020 Roadcheck could result in temporarily higher freight rates 2/24/2020 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving yard trucks, Knight-Swift partners with Truckstop.com, Security guard shoots driver 2/21/2020 Training providers offer a diversity of options 2/19/2020 Idaho eases hemp transport prohibition; too late to help arrested drivers 2/17/2020 Friday Short Haul - Tennessee carrier quits, signs a carrier is going down, retaining drivers 2/14/2020 New phone app hopes to alleviate shipper waits 2/12/2020 Senate Transportation Committee gets an earful from trucking execs 2/10/2020 Friday Short Haul - Best fleets to drive for, FMCSA delays ELDT rule, Cold Carriers closes doors 2/7/2020 Baylor Trucking deals with consequences of ELD outage 2/3/2020 WIT announces first-ever Driver Ambassador, names February Member of the Month 2/3/2020 Friday Short Haul - ATA at White House USMCA signing, AB-5 fight continues, toughest jobs 1/31/2020 May dates announced for this year's roadside inspection blitz 1/29/2020 States work to toughen up left-lane-hogging laws 1/27/2020 Friday Short Haul - Pilot Flying J name change, CRST-Swift lawsuit, Schneider named innovator 1/24/2020 Seven drivers named as TCA's Highway Angels 1/22/2020 Travel advisories and restrictions announced for Midwest weekend storm 1/20/2020 Friday Short Haul - Senators demand GPS app updates, Jason's Law survey, ATA applauds USMCA, FMCSA's truck crash survey 1/17/2020 Research group recommends a national autonomous truck policy 1/15/2020 A glimpse into driving long-haul in China 1/13/2020 Friday Short Haul - Court blocks AB-5, SBTC vs. FMCSA, Can Opener Bridge 1/10/2020 Loses appeal: Walmart ordered to pony up $54 million to drivers 1/8/2020 WIT and Walmart seek nominations for Female Driver of the Year 1/6/2020 Friday Short Haul - Sweatshop on Wheels, judge exempts truckers from AB-5, Fleetwood closes doors 1/3/2020 Trucking Truth's top stories for 2019 1/1/2020 Random drug tests of drivers to double in 2020 12/30/2019 Friday Short Haul - New EV semi, tonnage down, turnover up, Grapevine fatality, runaway truck tires demolish car 12/27/2019 Trucking industry goes out of its way for Christmas charitable giving 12/25/2019 Fuel card provider hit with FTC lawsuit 12/23/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver coercion, zero emissions, driver fatalities 12/20/2019 Hard enforcement for ELD compliance now in effect 12/18/2019 State CDL agencies get reprieve from drug & alcohol clearinghouse deadline 12/16/2019 Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions 12/13/2019 Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees 12/11/2019 Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry? 11/27/2019 Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath' 11/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack 11/22/2019 Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper 11/20/2019 Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill 11/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash 11/15/2019 Tesla announces new electric Semi model 11/13/2019 Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay 11/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working 11/8/2019 Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits 11/6/2019 So you want to start your own trucking company? 11/4/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges 11/1/2019 Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase 10/30/2019 Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5 10/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement 10/25/2019 Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over" 10/23/2019 Are trucker strikes a thing of the past? 10/21/2019 Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers 10/18/2019 OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules 10/16/2019 Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase 10/14/2019 Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition 10/11/2019 ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers 10/9/2019 Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend 10/7/2019 Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse 10/4/2019 UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program 10/2/2019 Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies 9/30/2019 Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics 9/27/2019 Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California 9/25/2019 Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers 9/23/2019 Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation 9/20/2019 Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets 9/18/2019 54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology 9/16/2019 Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea 9/13/2019 TCA honors three Highway Angels 9/11/2019 Now they're talking about "smart" trailers 9/9/2019 Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage 9/6/2019 Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change 9/4/2019 Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse 9/2/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign 8/30/2019 Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality 8/28/2019 Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks 8/23/2019 Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire 8/21/2019 UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment 8/19/2019 FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes 8/16/2019 Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions 8/14/2019 CVSA asks for new truck crash study 8/12/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination 8/9/2019 Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race 8/7/2019 New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes 8/5/2019 Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav 8/2/2019 Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity 7/31/2019 DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure 7/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs 7/26/2019 FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers 7/24/2019 It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle. 7/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans 7/19/2019 Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire 7/17/2019 Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills 7/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status 7/12/2019 ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant 7/10/2019 New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters 7/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week 7/5/2019 Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July 7/3/2019 Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks? 7/1/2019 Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks 6/28/2019 Experts warn of active wildland fire season 6/26/2019 More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking 6/24/2019 Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award 6/21/2019 Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs 6/19/2019 Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers 6/17/2019 Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo 6/14/2019 HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers 6/12/2019 FMCSA takes a further look at detention time 6/10/2019 Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest 6/7/2019 Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week 6/5/2019 Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo 6/3/2019 Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments 5/31/2019 Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration 5/29/2019 Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts 5/25/2019 Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles 5/24/2019 Autonomous trucks on USPS test run 5/22/2019 Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules 5/20/2019 Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC 5/17/2019 Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA 5/15/2019 Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins 5/13/2019 Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole 5/10/2019 Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South 5/8/2019 Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets 5/6/2019 Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers 5/3/2019 'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states 5/1/2019 Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers 4/29/2019 Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business 4/26/2019 ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for 4/24/2019 Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks 4/22/2019 Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings 4/19/2019 Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels 4/17/2019 Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business 4/15/2019 Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise 4/12/2019 Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need 4/10/2019 Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border 4/8/2019 Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules 4/5/2019 Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates 4/3/2019 Don't get scammed by skimmers 4/1/2019 Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking 3/29/2019 Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers 3/27/2019 Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy 3/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap 3/22/2019 Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising 3/20/2019 FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website 3/18/2019 Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award 3/15/2019 The hidden danger of looking but not seeing 3/13/2019 Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout 3/11/2019 Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire 3/8/2019 Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases 3/6/2019 Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness 3/4/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports 3/1/2019 New tax changes hit drivers hard 2/27/2019 FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military 2/25/2019 Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use 2/22/2019 Congress committee looks at state of America's highways 2/20/2019 Number of cargo thefts is down; 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Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks?

Dave Wickenhauser on Mon, July 1, 2019

Last Updated: Sun, June 30, 2019

A not-so-usual oval-shaped roundabout in the city of Carmel, Indiana

Roundabouts: They're either a boon to traffic efficiency or a truck driver's nightmare. Which is it?

One town that loves roundabouts is Carmel, Indiana; which is known not surprisingly as Roundabout City, USA, because the town has nearly 150 roundabouts for its population of 91,000 circle-driving citizens.

The town's obsession with roundabouts is due to the passion of Jim Brainard, the town's mayor since 1996, who became impressed with roundabouts during a graduate-school visit to England. By November of 2016 Carmel had built its 100th roundabout, with plans to top out with another 50 or so in the next few years.

Brainard says that most of the fears that motorists believe they'll have using roundabouts simply don't play out in actual use. He cites city statistics that show a 90 decrease in fatal accidents, an 80 percent reduction in serious-injury accidents, and 40 percent fewer accidents overall in intersections where roundabouts have replaced traffic signals.

He credits those numbers to the inherent features of roundabouts that force drivers to slow down in those intersections; thereby resulting in the accidents that do happen being at an angle rather than head-on, and non-injury or minor injury rather than fatalities.

He also touts the financial benefit of roundabouts by saying each intersection with a roundabout costs $250,000 less to build than a signalized one would, and they are cheaper to maintain by a factor of $5,000 less per year in electricity costs alone.

According to Brainard, traffic jams are reduced, meaning drivers spend less time and gas idling at stop lights; which Brainard claims amounts to about $4.9 million a year saved at the city's roundabouts.

In these positive articles about Carmel's plethora of roundabouts there is no anecdotal evidence of what truck drivers feel about driving in endless circles to get from somewhere to anywhere within the town. But truckers encountering the three roundabouts in the city of Worthington, Minnesota, are not so shy about expressing their opinions.

According to the town's local newspaper, The Globe, something about the town's roundabouts leads to truck-trailer tip-overs.

“They’re not big enough … they’re made for cars, not trucks” Jim Schutte, a semi driver from Rushmore, is quoted in The Globe. “When you go in, you’ve got the truck in the left lane and a trailer in the right, so if you get a car beside you, you have to watch out not to run them over.”

Schutte says he maneuvers through the Worthington roundabouts 10 times a week; which he handles carefully, slowly and successfully with his high-center-of-gravity feed trailer, often having to use the truck apron.

“You’re top heavy, so you hit that impact curb and it tips the truck,” Schutte said.

Top-heavy trucks are not the only ones susceptible to the roundabout's architecture. Trucks with low ground clearance have double the trouble because not only do they have to avoid scraping up onto the outside curbs, but the truck apron is unusable by them.

“My trailer is only four inches off the ground when it’s heavy, so then I have to avoid the apron,” Abels told The Globe.

And oversize trailers simply cannot drive through the town because of restrictions on using the roundabouts.

“That’s another issue,” Abels said. “Trucks with oversized trailers can make normal turns, but they can’t go through roundabouts, so how are we supposed to get into town if they build even more roundabouts?”

Able points out that the Worthington roundabouts aren't even the worst ones he encounters, citing some single-lane roundabouts elsewhere that are even tighter and harder to navigate.

This issue is highlighted by the personal experience of the author:

Back in my day of driving the NCA (Nevada, California, Arizona) fleet for Gordon Trucking my home terminal was located in Lathrop, California, near Stockton.

As anybody who has run in that area would understand, because of the numerous manufacturers and distribution centers in the nearby city of Tracy the town became my "second home."

As the gods of poor planning would have it, county engineers decided to yank out the perfectly fine signaled intersection coming off of the freeway and replace it with a roundabout.

There simply was no feasible detour that didn't involve driving miles out of the way, so we truck drivers had to weave our way around ongoing construction, narrowly avoiding accidents with confused motorists.

Even once the construction was finished, navigating that horrible roundabout was still a nightmare.

Granted, it was a two-lane roundabout; which theoretically should have made maneuvering easier. But there simply was no feasible way to make it across without fully hogging both lanes AND running up on the truck apron to boot.

I retired shortly after that, and left that roundabout far behind, but what's interesting is county public works finally recognized the problems with that disaster and have since "re-engineered" it. It remains to be seen if the changes were for the better.

There's an article from a year ago in the Tracy Press explaining the changes.

Apparently the intersection has experienced numerous accidents since completion – 98 since it opened in 2013 through mid-2018.

“When that roundabout was designed and constructed, there wasn’t the vast amount of warehousing and activity to the west,” deputy director of San Joaquin County Public Works Mike Selling told the Press.

He said a new Amazon fulfillment center and a build-up of the city's Northeast Industrial Area have resulted in increased truck and commuter traffic, and he attributed the accidents to "either a driver confusion kind of thing or folks trying to pass each other inside the roundabout.”

In other words, motorists just didn't like the fact that they had to yield to trucks that had to use both lanes (and then some) to navigate through the roundabout, and they would try to speed up to get past them.

Engineers determined that the solution was to pinch the two lanes into one lane half-way through the roundabout.

“By reducing it to one lane, then you don’t get anybody try to cut around,” Selling said in his Tracy Press interview, “and then for 11th Street traffic, when they look to their left they are only needing to be concerned with — anybody coming has to come in that one lane, so they essentially have the outside lane free to enter the roundabout."

Look at the photo, and you decide.


The Tracy roundabout after being re-engineered to pinch off one lane

The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has a report titled "Intersection Safety Roundabouts."

The report starts out by stating, "On projects that construct new or improved intersections, the modern roundabout should be examined as an alternative," and noted that modern roundabouts provide safety and operational benefits over other types of intersections.

The report goes into extreme detail with recommendations for road engineers to design roundabouts to be safe and efficient.

Of note concerning large trucks is that the report recognizes the difficulty of large vehicles in navigating roundabouts, and that designers should use a vehicle the size of a big-rig truck and trailer as the "design vehicle" in their calculations.

FHWA recommends accommodating large vehicles in their turning radius designs, but not to make the roundabout too wide so as to "maintain a relatively narrow circulatory roadway to adequately constrain passenger car speeds."

In other words, since the primary function of roundabouts is to make traversing intersections more efficient by slowing down traffic, it would be counter-productive to make them easier for large trucks to navigate, since that would encourage higher speeds.

Truck aprons, a circular ring around the center island, should be constructed to have a different texture than the roadway, and should be raised and sloped slightly in order to discourage passenger cars from using them as a driving lane.

And the misuse of truck aprons by motorists is a common complaint of truck drivers.

“That's my biggest pet peeve about roundabouts,” Abels said in the Worthington, Minnesota, Globe newspaper interview. “Passenger vehicles just don’t provide enough room. Some of them even drive up onto the truck apron.”

A number of states have enacted legislation hoping to alleviate the motorist/truck conflict in their roundabouts by giving trucks the right of way in roundabouts and making it illegal to attempt to pass a truck in a roundabout.

For example, the state of Wisconsin enacted a law in 2015 regarding driving around trucks in roundabouts, requiring motorists to yield the right-of-way to trucks and other large vehicles, including combinations of vehicles that are 40-feet long or longer.

The law is enforced by a citation costing the violator $175.30 and four demerit points for the first offence, and $213.10 and another four points for the second or further offences.

Indiana's law, enacted in 2017, has a penalty of $500 for not yielding to a truck in a roundabout. That bill was authored by Rep. Jerry Torr, who was approached by Carmel, Indiana, Mayor Jim Brainard.

Sources: FMWA, The Globe, Golden State Newspapers, Curbed

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