Dallas Truck and 18 Wheeler Accidents on the Rise on 2 of the Nation’s Deadliest North Texas Highways
A new study confirmed what many motorists in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex likely already suspected: Interstate 20 and Interstate 35—which run through North Texas—are two of the deadliest highways in the United States.
I-20 Was 2nd Deadliest Highway in 2020
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which analyzed data from Zebra, a large auto insurance provider, I-20 was the second deadliest road in the United States in 2020, despite also being one of the shortest highways in the country.
Starting in West Texas and continuing through South Carolina, I-20 runs through the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Jackson, Mississippi, and Atlanta, Georgia. At least 208 people died in accidents along I-20 in 2020, with those highly-congested metro areas contributing to a fatality rate of 13.52 deaths per 100 miles.
Trucks and 18-Wheelers Make I-35 Especially Dangerous
I-35, which stretches from Minnesota to South Texas, is the nation’s fifth deadliest road. The interstate not only runs through three major Texas metro regions – Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio — but is also “the de facto route for thousands of 18-wheeler trucks”. In 2020, both factors contributed to 197 deaths and a resulting fatality rate of 12.56 fatalities per 100 miles.
Last February in Texas, a massive pileup involving 133 vehicles – including a FedEx truck and more than a dozen 18-wheelers – left six people dead and injured 65 others, proving just how dangerous the stretch of I-35 that runs through the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex can really be.
I-95 Was the #1 Deadliest Road in the Nation
I-95, which runs along the east coast from Maine through Florida, was the #1 most dangerous highway in the U.S. in 2020, with 284 deaths and a fatality rate of 14.88 per 100 miles deaths.
According to Zebra, a significant portion of I-95 deaths occurred in the Northeast during the winter months, when snow, ice, and sleet often resulted in road conditions that were far from ideal. However, Florida also reported many fatalities along I-95, especially in the heavily-trafficked sections that run through Jacksonville and Brevard County near Orlando.
9 of 10 Deadliest Roads Were Interstate Highways
All but one of the roads on Zebra’s list are interstate highways, including:
- I-5, running from Washington state through California, took third place with 186 deaths and a fatality rate of 13.47/100 miles.
- I-75, which stretches from Michigan to Florida, took fourth place with 237 deaths and a fatality rate of 13.27/100 miles.
- 1-15, traveling from Montana through California, ranked sixth, with 158 deaths and a fatality rate of 11.02/100 miles.
- I-40, running from North Carolina on the East Coast through California on the West Coast, was the nation’s seventh deadliest road, with 253 fatalities and a death rate of 9.89/100 miles.
- 1-70, which goes from Maryland through Utah, took eighth place with 158 deaths and a fatality rate of 7.35/100 miles.
- I-80, which stretches from Teaneck, New Jersey to downtown San Francisco, California, came in at number 9, with 209 deaths and a fatality rate of 7.21/100 miles.
Finally, running from Michigan to Tennessee, where it joins up with I-75, and the only non-interstate to make the list, US-41 was the nation’s 10th deadliest highway, racking up 141 fatalities and roughly 7.02 deaths per 100 miles driven in 2019.
Driving Became Even More Dangerous in 2020
Unfortunately, many of the highways on Zebra’s list likely became even more dangerous in 2020, despite COVID-19 shutdowns that led to a significant drop-off in traffic across much of the country. While Americans drove 430.2 billion miles less in 2020 than in 2019, or about a 13.2% decrease, the number of vehicle-related fatalities actually jumped by an estimated 7.2%.
“The decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) combined with an increase in vehicle-related fatalities resulted in a steep increase in the fatality rate per 100 million VMT (1.37) in 2020,” Zebra noted. “This was a 26% increase from 2019 and the highest fatality rate since 2007 (1.36).”
Preliminary data from the NHTSA also suggests that a big jump in risky driving behaviors contributed to the rising death toll, including increased rates of speeding, lower rates of seatbelt use, and higher numbers of intoxicated drivers.
Tips for Driving on Dangerous Roads and Highways
As the nation’s highways become increasingly dangerous, it’s more important than ever that motorists take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their families, and others while they’re on the road:
- Be Extra Alert: Stay extra alert when driving on dangerous highways, especially those frequented by 18-wheelers and other heavy trucks. Act as if you’re driving in poor road conditions (heavy rain or snow or poor visibility) even when you’re not.
- Plan Ahead: Familiarize yourself with the route before heading out on a long-distance road trip. Know where you’re likely to hit heavy-traffic areas and be aware of the weather forecast throughout your journey.
- Rest: Drowsy driving is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. If you’re tired, let someone else drive or pull off in a safe place for a quick nap. Yawning, frequently blinking, having difficulty recalling the past few miles driven, missing exits, or drifting from your lane are all signs of drowsy driving.
- Obey Traffic Laws: You’re far less likely to get into a fatal accident if you’re obeying the speed limit and other traffic laws.
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