These are the Deadliest Roads in the US
Alcohol kills a driver every 52 minutes on US roads. Those deaths happen everywhere, but they’re not distributed evenly among the 50 states. In fact, a surprising number of alcohol-related crashes occur on just a few roads in the Western states.
Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the legal services company Avvo produced a study showing the roads on which a drunk driving crash was most likely to occur. The study used collision data from 2004 to 2013.
As it turns out, Wyoming has three out of the top eight roads, with close to 14 deaths per 100,000. The worst single road in terms of alcohol-related deaths is Interstate 90 in Montana, on which 6.4 out of every 100,000 people died. New Mexico is another state with two infamous roads, I-25 and I-40.
So, why are these roads so dangerous? They’re not poorly marked, and there are no especially treacherous curves that impaired drivers would have a hard time negotiating. The answers involve two factors that deal not with the roads but with the areas the roads go through:
- Little public transport. On long stretches of these roads, there is no way to get home after a night of drinking except by car. Buses are rare, taxis nonexistent, and rideshare companies do not offer services either. Not every drinker in these areas will choose to drive, but limited options mean that heavy drinkers have a harder time making the right decision.
- Young drinkers. Young people, especially males, are on just about every warning list for dangerous behavior. Drivers under 35 account for half of all fatal collisions in which alcohol is a factor. In rural areas young people, particularly teens, are more likely to binge drink, an activity that is associated with drunk driving.
Roads, at least Interstate Highways, do not kill. But the same factors that cause DUI deaths everywhere seem to be more pronounced in rural areas.
- Placing more responsibility on drinking establishments with dram laws that hold bars liable for serving intoxicated customers.
- Stronger ignition interlock laws. Ignition interlock devices prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. They are successful at preventing DUI offenders from becoming repeat offenders.
Drive safely and sober out there. Wherever you are.