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Houston is home to some of the most dangerous highways in America.

Driving in the United States is becoming more lethal, with almost 18,000 people killed in traffic incidents in the first six months of 2018 alone. That represents an increase of more than 10% compared to the same period last year, and that period had an increase compared to the first half of 2016.

 Houston is the most populated city in Texas. Because of this, we also see the most car accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 65,234 accidents in Houston in 2017.

 Some more in-depth car crash statistics:

  • 226 of those accidents were fatal, resulting in 242 deaths
  • 1,077 accidents caused serious injury, injuring 1,290 people
  • 13,604 of the accidents caused an injury of some kind, harming 21,278 people

 Houston also ranks among the worst cities for traffic in the U.S. Houston ranks near the top of several crummy commute categories, a recent study conducted by Auto Insurance Center reports. The website says traffic delays cost the average American about $960 and 42 hours a year. The report reviewed various data from 471 U.S. urban areas.

Deaths per 100,000 miles driven are at their highest point in seven years. This disturbing increase in deaths may have several causes, including the fact that more Americans are driving as the economy has recovered. But it is also believed that a great culprit is distracted driving. As CityLab reported in March 2016, American drivers are texting, talking, adjusting the controls of increasingly complicated vehicle entertainment systems, and doing other things while driving, that make them ignore traffic lanes more than half the time while behind the wheel.

 A new analysis by EverQuote, an online marketplace for car insurance also suggests the risks of distracted driving.  EverDrive, via its secure driving app, captures a driver's phone usage when his car is in motion.

The app collected data from six million trips made over more than 75 million miles of 38,000 registered users across the country between 2010 and 2015.

Using this data on the use of mobile phones and analysis of collision statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, EverQuote was able to create a ranking of the most lethal roads in the country. The results indicate how dangerous driving habits, combined with a lack of state policies that could contain them, may be increasing deaths.

Houston Accidents

A thorough study from the Accident Data Center, which compiled accident statistics from 2011 to 2017, concluded that Interstate 45 (I-45) ranks as the second-most dangerous highway in the nation. This highway averaged about 56.5 fatal accidents per 100 miles.

That's only behind California's State Route 99, which averaged 62.3 fatal accidents per 100 miles. Interstate 10 (I-10) ranked the fourth-most dangerous in America with 54.5 fatal accidents per 100 miles.  I-10's deadliest city was New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Bayou City was named the most dangerous stretch on I-45, experiencing 51 fatal accidents.

A study by ValuePenguin looked at the number of fatal accidents that happened in dark areas or areas where no roadway lighting was present. I-10 was rated the second-darkest highway, and I-45 ranked No. 3 on the same list.  Both highways averaged nearly 20 fatal accidents per 100 miles due to nighttime conditions.

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Drunk driving fatalities occurred at the highest rate on I-45, with about 17.5 drunk driving deaths per 100 miles. I-10 ranked No. 4 with 12.6 fatalities per 100 miles on that list.

 Other dangerous roads in Houston

  - Interstate 610

Interstate 610 (I-610) is the internal bypass road that divides Houston. It follows a 38-mile circular path around  downtown Houston.

The northern area of I-610 is especially dangerous and tends to host a large number of rollover accidents.

 - Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Freeway)

Beltway  8 or the Sam Houston Freeway is a state highway in the Harris County area. It runs a circular path of 83 miles around  the Houston area. Accidents happen too often in this area. . So far this year there have been 5,814 accidents on Beltway 8 based on statistics from Houstontranstar.org

The intersections of the Sam Houston Freeway are another point where many accidents are concentrated. In fact, data from the Texas Department of Transportation show that the intersection of Sam Houston Freeway and Bissonnet Street is the most dangerous in all of Texas. Between 2012 and 2015 alone, there were 335 collisions there.

- State Highway 99 / Grand Parkway

State Highway 99, also known as the Grand Parkway, is a highway in Texas that opened its first section in 1994. When State Highway 99 is complete, it will be the longest beltway in the U.S., and the third (outer) loop within Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area.  Interstate 610 is the first (inner) loop, and Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Tollway) is the second (middle) loop.

Collisions on State Highway 99 / Grand Parkway cause a multitude of injuries and deaths each year such as the rear-end collision of multiple vehicles in which a small child was killed and four people were injured. Last year there were more than 100 accidents on SH-99 based on statistics from Houstontranstar.org

What are the main reasons why these Houston freeways are so dangerous?

Although all the accidents that occurred on these three dangerous highways had specific causes, many were related to alcohol, distractions at the wheel or because of not obeying speed limits.

It is thought that the distracted driving epidemic is responsible for about 9% of all road deaths. Meanwhile, traffic laws restricting mobile phone use remain extremely difficult to enforce in most states and in some they do not even exist. Drivers can also cause accidents if they:

  • Text and drive
  • Have not slept enough
  • Are not familiar with the road (they can cause collisions by going in the opposite direction or get distracted by the GPS device)
  • Drive aggressively
  • Do not adapt their speed to road conditions (such as road, ice, rain, snow, etc)

What do I do if I have had an accident?

As we have already mentioned, some accidents are inevitable. Fortunately, if you have been involved in one and can prove that the other driver caused it, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other aspects related to the accident.

However, an accident can make victims feel that they have no one to turn to. When that happens, you should to contact an experienced attorney.

P&M Law is dedicated to helping victims of auto accidents receive the compensation they deserve. We offer free consultations to discuss your case so we can make sure we take all the necessary steps to protect your rights.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident because of a negligent driver, call our bilingual staff at 832-844-6428 or by text at 832-438-3012.

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