By John Fagan***
On average, Americans spend 293 hours driving approximately 11,000 miles each year. A portion of that time is spent on interstates driving to work, on road trips, or visiting friends or family. A stronger economy means lower gas prices and therefore more drivers on the road. This leaves room for more potential accidents. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stated that there are about 15.6 million licensed drivers in Florida and about 350,000 traffic accidents per year. Of those traffic accidents, 2,933 were fatal crashes, usually in a car.
Based on fatalities per mile, Florida has 3 of the top 10 deadliest interstates in America.
Top 10 Deadliest Interstates
1. Interstate 4 – Runs from Tampa to Daytona Beach, Florida. It is only 132 miles long but has had 1.41 fatalities per mile in the past 6 years making it the most dangerous interstate in the United States.
2. Interstate 45 – Connects Dallas and Houston to the Gulf of Mexico. The 285 mile highway has had 1.24 fatalities per mile in the past 6 years.
3. Interstate 17 – This 146 mile interstate runs from Phoenix to Flagstaff (Arizona) with 1.03 fatalities per mile in the past 6 years.
4. Interstate 30 – Runs from Fort Worth, Texas to North Little Rock, Arkansas. The 367 mile highway has had 1.03 deaths per mile in the past 6 years.
5. Interstate 95 – The 1,926 mile interstate runs from Miami, Florida to Houlton, Maine. It has .89 fatalities per mile.
6. Interstate 19 – Connects Nogales and Tucson (Arizona). The 64 mile long highway has .88 fatalities per mile in the past 6 years.
7. Interstate 10 – This 2,460 mile long interstate connects Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. It has .85 fatalities per mile and is the longest interstate on the list.
8. Interstate 37 – Connects Corpus Christi to San Antonio (Texas). Its 143 miles has .8 fatalities per mile during the last 6 years.
9. Interstate 26 – This interstate runs from Kingsport, Tennessee to Charleston, South Carolina. This 306 miles has .8 fatalities per mile during the last 6 years.
10. Interstate 97 – One of the shortest interstates in the country (Hawaii has two that are shorter) running only 18 miles from Annapolis to Baltimore (Maryland) with .79 fatalities per mile in the past 6 years.
What makes interstates so dangerous?
Other than the obvious higher traffic volumes and higher speeds, interstate drivers also see more reckless driving. Speeding, last second lane changes (either because they are trying to avoid waiting in line or because they are unfamiliar to the area), talking on cell phones, and eating are all examples of reckless driving seen on interstates on a regular basis.
Weather conditions can also be challenging especially for tourists. Florida is known for its constant rain and fog. This can cause drivers to lose control and hydroplane or not be able to stop in time, especially if they are not used to driving in these conditions. Conversely, people from the Southern states may not be familiar with driving in snowy or icy conditions. Interstates see masses of nighttime drivers trying to make it to their destination without paying for hotels. This can create many issues such as drowsy driving and lessened visibility.
Why is Florida more dangerous than the other states?
Florida has 3 of the top 10 most dangerous interstate highways. This could be because the most common cause of accidents in Florida is reckless driving. It is the 3rd highest state for reckless driving, behind Arkansas and Montana. Florida is also the 2nd worst nationally for cell phone use while driving. Floridians use their phone 1.4 times per trip on average. The only distracted driving law in Florida is a secondary offense. That means drivers cannot be pulled over for distracted driving unless another violation is committed.
If you are in an interstate accident, move your vehicle to the shoulder or to another safe area if possible. If you’re unable to move your car, make sure it is in park and turn on the hazard lights to warn others that your car is disabled. Check on everyone else involved, and if necessary, call 911. You should have even minor injuries checked out by a healthcare professional as injuries may not always manifest immediately. Gather the names, license plate information, makes and models of vehicles involved, witnesses contact information, and location of accident. Take photos of the scene. You will also want to contact an experienced accident attorney. My commitment to details and accuracy means you will receive the compensation you need and deserve. Contact me at 1-855 FAGAN LAW or by email at John@JohnFagan.com.