Treacherous transportation

I-35 crashes onto list of deadliest highways in the U.S., says study

I-35 crashes onto list of deadliest highways in the U.S., says study

Several of the most clogged roads in the U.S. crisscross Texas. Now, two major highways in the Lone Star State qualify for another dubious distinction: They’re among the 10 deadliest roads in the country.

In a new study from Austin-based insurance marketplace The Zebra, I-35 ranks as the country’s fifth most deadly road on a per-mile basis. I-20 appears at No. 2. The ranking draws on data from federal agencies and transportation studies.

I-35, which snakes through Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth, recorded 12.56 traffic deaths per 100 miles in 2019. That year, 197 fatalities were reported along I-35. The highway runs from Minnesota to South Texas.

I-20, which cuts through Dallas-Fort Worth, recorded 13.52 traffic deaths per 100 miles in 2019, according to the study. That year, fatalities on I-20 totaled 208.

I-20, going from West Texas to South Carolina, “is one of the shorter highways on the list but is still quite dangerous,” The Zebra says.

According to The Zebra, I-35 is deadly for a couple of reasons:

  • It travels through the heavily populated Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas.
  • It is the “de facto route” for thousands of 18-wheelers.

The Texas Department of Transportation says for the past several years, about 10 people have died each day in traffic crashes around the state. The agency recently introduced the #EndTheStreakTX campaign, aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities in Texas.

“We all have the power to end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said November 7 at a news conference in Houston.

Claiming the No. 1 spot in The Zebra’s study is I-95, which stretches along the entire East Coast. Major cities along the route include Boston, New York City, Baltimore, and Miami. In 2019, I-95 racked up 14.88 traffic deaths per 100 miles for a total of 284 fatalities.

Not surprisingly, the two biggest counties in Texas — Dallas and Harris — rank among the U.S. counties with the most vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people, the study says. Dallas County shows up at No. 8, with 10.19 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2019. Two spots behind, at No. 10, is Harris County. There, 8.94 vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people were reported in 2019.

Leading the list of deadly counties is Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, Florida. In 2019, Hillsborough County registered 14.83 vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people.