Several of the busiest roads in the United States criss-cross Texas. Now, two major Dallas-Fort Worth freeways qualify for another dubious distinction: They are among the 10 deadliest roads in the country.
In a new study by Austin-based insurance market The Zebra, Interstate 20 ranks second among the nation’s deadliest roads per mile. I-35 appears at #5.
The ranking is based on data from federal agencies and transportation studies.
I-20, which runs through Dallas-Fort Worth, recorded 13.52 road deaths per 100 miles in 2019, according to the study. Deaths totaled 208.
I-20, which runs from West Texas to South Carolina, “is one of the shortest highways on the list, but it’s still quite dangerous,” says The Zebra.
I-35, which winds through Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio (and is notoriously still under construction), recorded 12.56 road fatalities per 100 miles in 2019. That year, 197 fatalities were reported. The highway connects Minnesota to southern Texas.
According to The Zebra, I-35 is deadly for several reasons:
- It passes through the heavily populated Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio metropolitan areas.
- It’s the “de facto road” for thousands of 18-wheelers.
I-35 was the scene of a massive pileup in Fort Worth last February that killed six people and injured 65.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in recent years about 10 people have died each day in traffic crashes across the state. The agency recently launched the #EndTheStreakTX campaign, aimed at reducing road deaths in Texas.
“We all have the power to end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roads,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said Nov. 7 at a press conference in Houston.
I-95, which stretches along the entire East Coast, claims the top spot in The Zebra’s study. The main cities along the route are Boston, New York, Baltimore and Miami. In 2019, the I-95 recorded 14.88 road fatalities per 100 miles for a total of 284 fatalities.
Not surprisingly, the two largest counties in Texas — Dallas and Harris — rank among the US counties with the most vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people, according to the study. Dallas County sits at No. 8, with 10.19 deaths per 100,000 population in 2019. Two spots behind, at No. 10, is Harris County. There, 8.94 vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 population were reported in 2019.
Topping the list of killer counties is Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, Florida. In 2019, Hillsborough County recorded 14.83 vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 population.