The Region of Waterloo is launching a new campaign ‘Learn the Turn!...Roundabout Essentials 2012’ to help drivers learn to use roundabouts safely.

Bob Henderson, manager of transportation and engineering with the Region of Waterloo, says the video went into production last fall.

“The video is getting back to basics, teaching drivers the essential steps…we’re one of the leaders in Canada and North America for producing roundabout educational material.”

The 2012 campaign video cost a reported $25,000 to produce, only half of the budget allotted. The 2011 campaign cost about $150,000 and included four television ads.

Roundabouts were introduced in Waterloo Region in 2004 and as of November 2011 there were 17 on regional roads and more on city streets.

Three more are proposed on Franklin Boulevard in Cambridge in 2014.

Officials say roundabouts improve road safety, manage increased traffic and improve air quality by cutting unnecessary stops.

But despite educational campaigns every year since their introduction, there have been a number of collisions at area roundabouts.

One of the most serious occurred in October 2011 and involved a Grand River Transit bus and a pedestrian, 16-year-old student Cassi Lam.

Lam was seriously injured and her family is now suing the region. The driver of the bus has been charged.

That collision at the Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road roundabout, one of the region’s largest, triggered a number of changes.

The included lowering the speed limit, changes to the lanes and changing ‘Yield to pedestrians’ signs to ‘Stop for pedestrians.’

While there has been a drop in the number of collisions at that roundabout, officials are still keen to continue to improve the numbers across the region.

Henderson says “The long term trend overall is we’re seeing a decreasing number of collisions. We’re also seeing more people using our roundabouts on a yearly basis…there might be more collisions, but when you account for volume, the actual rate of collisions is decreasing.”

The campaign includes a video that takes viewers step by step through a roundabout and is meant to teach “the essential skills in order to drive a roundabout properly, safely and easily,” according to the region’s website.

More tips for drivers and pedestrians can be found on the Region of Waterloo website.