Five of the Most Deadly Trucking Routes in the United States
Truck drivers take their jobs seriously and endeavor to get to their destination both quickly and safely. But the nature of trucking means that a momentary lapse of concentration can have fatal consequences. Unfortunately, some trucking companies push truck drivers beyond the reasonable bounds of human endurance. In some cases, trucking outfits may even push drivers to break hours-of-service rules while also suggesting that they falsify log books and take other steps to worker even longer hours.
1. The States with the Most Big-Rig Related Fatal Crashes
Unfortunately, pushing truckers beyond their limits has serious consequences. But, before we move into the deadly routes, let’s get an idea of which states are home to the most truck accidents and fatalities due to commercial truck wrecks.
By this measure, Texas leads the pack as the most deadly state to drive a truck in by far. While it is likely a function of Texas’ legendary size and high population, according to crash data provided by NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, the state accounts for 12.6% of all fatal truck wrecks. Texas is, by far, the state with the most potential for death due to a trucking accident. The runner-up is California accounting for 6.4% of all trucking accident deaths. However, it is surprising that individual highways in Texas are rarely discussed as being “the most dangerous” online in forums frequented by truckers. By contrast, California typically receives multiple mentions in forums, including I-15 and Route 138. Other states topping the list for deaths due to trucking accidents include:
- Florida (4.8%)
- Pennsylvania (4.4%)
- Georgia (4.0%)
- Ohio (3.9%)
- Illinois (3.5%)
Again, the above list is not a claim that these states have the most deadly routes, but rather the cumulative amount of fatal accidents makes the state a more dangerous than average place to operate a truck. Now that we have covered the state level, let’s move onto particularly dangerous stretches of highways.
2. Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11)
Dalton Highway is a rather infamous stretch of roadway running from Fairbanks, AK to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields near Deadhorse, AK. The 414 mile winding dirt road is filled with potholes, crossing wildlife, and other obstacles. In winter, white-out conditions are not only possible, but frequent. All of this is further complicated by the fact that, in 1994, the road was opened to tourists who may not fully appreciate the road’s risks.
3. I-95 in Connecticut
While one might not think of the main north-south artery on the eastern seaboard as being particularly dangerous, few would probably consider Connecticut as being the location for an accident hot spot. However, between New Haven and the New York state line the main trucking route combines with the main commuter route. The recipe is one for disaster as high traffic volume and numerous crashes – 735 crashes over an eight mile stretch. In the 1980s, the state attempted to reduce congestion and accidents by eliminating tolls, but a number of high profile accidents ensued nevertheless. The most dramatic of these accidents was a 2004 tanker accident that resulted in 8,000 gallons of heating oil spilled onto the roadway igniting.
4. I-15 Connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas
I-15 is one of the most dangerous highways in the west. The road itself is not particularly dangerous. Rather, surrounding factors seem to contribute to the unusually high death-rate on this route. Due to the nature of the route, drinking and driving and drugged driving are particularly present. Furthermore, the straight-line desert nature of the route makes it particularly prone to distracted driving and drivers dozing off behind the wheel. In some cases, it’s the human factors that can make roads particularly dangerous.
5. Highway 550 in Colorado
Highway 550 through Colorado offers scenic and perhaps breathtaking views. However, truck drivers would do well to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. This stretch of road cuts through a gorge and is well-known for its numerous hairpin turns made significantly more interesting due the road’s lack of guardrails. This means that a moment of distraction can result in a truck hurtling off the edge of a mountain cliff. At a peak of 11,000 feet above sea level, that’s a long way down.
Honorable Mention: Tail of the Dragon
Among all drivers, the Tail of the Dragon enjoys a rather legendarily dangerous reputation. However, for many drivers the road’s legendary status has attracted them rather than served as deterrence from navigating U.S. Route 129. The road is particularly noteworthy because this 11-mile stretch has 318 curves.
Rely on an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Today
During the period from 2010 to 2012, there were more than 204 truck crashes on this stretch of road. Furthermore, six of the crashes resulted in the deaths of drivers or passengers. What’s the only thing that keeps this stretch of road off of our list? In 2015, Tennessee finally took action and banned big rigs from the route. However, there is always the chance that trucks may still opt to listen to their GPS and attempt to take this “short-cut.” Furthermore, moving trucks and other larger vehicles not impacted by the ban will still travel this route.
If you have experienced a severe truck accident injury and want to consult truck accident lawyers about your legal matter, call us today at (215) 246-9000.