The Deadliest Highways in the United States

The good news is that across the United States, traffic fatalities were down 1% in 2018 when compared to the previous year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 36,750 people died in vehicle accidents in that year.

The not-so-great report is that seven different highways in 10 states account for a large percentage of those crashes and fatalities. The furthest north is I-5 in Washington. The other deadliest highways are located in the southern part of the United States.

1 – Florida’s US-1, running 545 miles along the state’s east coast – from Key West to Georgia – was host to 1,011 crashes with 1,079 fatalities.

2 – Second is Tennessee’s I-40. This interstate cuts west/east across Tennessee before entering North Carolina. There were 437 crashes on I-40 in Tenessee in 2018, with 517 fatalities.

3 – I-40 in New Mexico, running east/west in the northern half of the state, saw 344 accidents with 395 fatalities.

4 – Alabama’s I-65 posted 366 crashes and 389 fatalities in 2018.

5 – Texas’s US-83 comes in from Kansas to the north and runs north/south in the top part of the state. US-83 is deserving of caution when traveling Texas. It had 268 vehicle accidents and 336 fatalities.

6 – South Carolina has the sixth deadliest highway. It’s I-95, which is 1,908 miles long in its entirety running from Florida to the Canadian border. It is especially dangerous in South Carolina however, having racked up 244 crashes and 301 fatalities.

7 – It’s us-90 in Louisiana – the highway that posts the highest number of crashes – 271 – and fatalities – 295.

8 – In Arizona, I-40 is the highway to be careful on. Two hundred forty-nine crashes have occured on I-40 in that southern state, with 293 fatalities.

9 – I-5 spans the state of Washington north to south from Oregon to Canada. Its 277 miles in Washington alone saw 245 accidents and 258 fatalities.

10 – I-95 makes a second appearance on the list. It ranks as number 10 in the Top Ten deadliest US highways, marking 201 crashes in 2019, and 240 fatalities.

Safer and lower cost bridge inspections

So, you’re a highway inspector and you are tasked with inspecting a bridge. Roadway – OK. Structure and supports – check. But how about the top? What if you are evaluating the soaring trusses of a bridge like the Tappen Zee over the Hudson, or any bridge with structures that reach far above the lanes of traffic. For that matter, how do you see all parts of the inside of a tunnel? A retaining wall? A high mast light?

The answer for the Federal Highway Administration in recent months, has been to employ Unmanned Aerial Systems, also known as drones. During the past year, increasing numbers of state departments of transportation are considering using UASs as well, taking their cues from states like Minnesota which, since adopting UAS, has seen a 40% savings in inspection costs and improved data quality. The drones are able to “see’ and deliver data from difficult-to-access bridge elements such as confined spaces, high wall abutments, steep slopes and piers under traffic.

Financial and safety improvements are also noted by UAS users, who observe how UAS can collect data without having to raise or lower inspectors to various parts of bridges and structures using traditional methods like under-bridge inspection vehicles, ladders, lifts and ropes. UAS also results in less large equipment use, which in turn means reductions in not only road and lane closures, but also in overall inspection time and costs.
DOTs are additionally able to collect infrared and 3D modeling bridge and topographic mapping details, and can identify concrete delamination using this wave-of-the-future structural inspection tool.