Treacherous transportation

2 Dallas-Fort Worth freeways crash onto new list of deadliest roads in the U.S.

2 DFW freeways crash onto new list of deadliest roads in the U.S.

Fort Worth highway, traffic
Drive defensively out there. Getty Images

Several of the most clogged roads in the U.S. crisscross Texas. Now, two major highways in Dallas-Fort Worth 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, Interstate 20 ranks as the country's second most deadly road on a per-mile basis. I-35 appears at No. 5.

The ranking draws on data from federal agencies and transportation studies.

I-20, which cuts through Dallas-Fort Worth, recorded 13.52 traffic deaths per 100 miles in 2019, according to the study. Fatalities 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.

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

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

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

I-35 was the scene of a massive pile-up in Fort Worth last February that killed six people and injured 65.

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.