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US-59, US-290 and I-10 have made the cut as some of the most dangerous roadways in America. Not necessarily something Houston would want “bragging rights” over, but it is an important attribute of the city nonetheless, and it’s one that’s hopefully headed for a change.

ValuePenguin created the analysis by obtaining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Overall, it calculated the amount of crashes and fatalities between 2010 and 2016. During this time frame, I-10 had 676 fatalities, US-59 had 390, and US-290 had 212. I-10 ranked 5th most dangerous in U.S., specifically the portion of I-10 that runs from Anthony, TX, near the New Mexico state line to the border of Louisiana. US-290 placed 35th most dangerous and US-59 23rd.

The ranking was determined by comparing fatal crashes per vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) per capita, fatalities per crash, and the percentage of fatal non-vehicle collisions that occurred on each highway.

Several factors that contribute to our ranking as the most deadly:

– Roads, such as portions of the Grand Parkway, designed for maximum speed to move as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
– Long commutes.
– Drop in traffic citations as population and miles driven rise. Texas’ texting ban has also been lightly enforced due to a shortage of police officers.
– Restricted use of speed cameras, video enforcement of red-light runners, and an enforced ban on sobriety checkpoints by state lawmakers.
– Roads for cyclists or pedestrians to go nowhere other than right into traffic. Currently, Houston has fewer than 300 miles of on-street bike lanes.

Experts say that safety efforts are largely limited because of money and politics. Focus on highway widening and mass transit projects gobble up transportation money and police budgets. And driver complacency seems to be a huge component to the rising of roadway fatalities. It’s become too normal for people to be bothered by it. “I don’t know how the average Houstonian would worry about being pulled over,” said Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi. He states that the shortage of officers not running the radar as much contributes to the shortage of traffic tickets, “because we’re too busy going from call to call.”

Voting in the upcoming election is obviously a great way to help combat some of the factors contributing to our roadway safety issues. More importantly, awareness of our individual habits while behind the wheel could and should become the driving force behind change on our roads.

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