What are California’s Deadliest Freeways and Highways?

 California's Deadly Freeways and Highways

Have you ever wondered what are California’s deadliest freeways and highways?

Certainly some are worse than others. Also, there are more than 14 million vehicles registered in California that on any given day are traveling across some of the state’s 400,000 miles of roads, freeways and highways.

Indeed, the Golden State is by far the nation’s most populous so it’s no wonder that the state has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous places to drive.

Motorists who travel throughout California know firsthand that it can be dangerous to navigate some of the most notorious freeways. These roadways are further impacted by a variety of factors such as weather conditions, rush-hour traffic, construction, tourists and various other driver behaviors.

Indeed, in a study of roughly 4,452 California roads by MoneyGeek, identified the most dangerous freeways. The worst stretch was a portion of the Interstate 15 Freeway between exits 138 and 129 in Hesperia. The group determined this was the deadliest section of freeway in the state.

The study reviewed records from 10,370 fatal car accidents recorded from 2017 to 2019. Researchers examined how factors such as drunk and drugged driving, speeding, distracted driving and the time of year when a collision took place may have contributed to the fatal crashes.

Overall, DUI driving accounts for roughly 27 percent of all collisions whereas speeding was a factor in 28 percent of all collisions. Additionally, the deadliest month of the year was November with 951 deaths, followed by September with 911 deaths and December with 889 deaths.

As part of this study, MoneyGeek summarized data from California counties and found that Los Angeles County ranked first with 2,169 deaths, followed by San Bernardino County with 986 and Riverside County with 895. Also, the top five counties — including San Diego and Orange County — recorded a total of 5,017 fatal crashes or roughly 47% of the 10,370 recorded fatal crashes in the state.

Let’s take a look at a list of the deadliest California highways and freeways:

  1. Interstate 405 (I-405) – This freeway, also known as the San Diego Freeway, runs through the heart of Los Angeles and is one of the busiest highways in the country. It has a reputation for being heavily congested, with drivers often traveling at high speeds and changing lanes frequently.
  2. Interstate 5 (I-5) – This freeway runs for 796.77 miles and traverses the entire length of California from the border of Mexico to the Oregon border. It’s heavily traveled by semi-trucks and commuters alike and experiences major collisions. MoneyGeek reports the top contributing factor in fatality accidents on this freeway resulted from speeding 648 crashes and drunk driving 450 crashes.
  3. Interstate 10 (I-10) – A transcontinental highway, the Interstate 10 runs through Southern California starting in Santa Monica. It travels east and crosses multiple states across the country before it ends in Florida. The section located in California runs in a west-east direction as it cuts through downtown Los Angeles. There are many curves and stretches of road that motorists may find are difficult to navigate. The Riverside County stretch tends to be the most dangerous part of the freeway.
  4. US Route 101 (US-101) – This popular tourist route runs along the Pacific coast of California and traverses several counties with high traffic such as Los Angeles and Ventura, but it is also particularly treacherous in areas such as Santa Clara due to narrow lanes and curves.
  5. State Route 99 (SR-99) – Highway 99 runs in a north-south direction through the Central Valley area of California. It is heavily traveled by trucks transporting goods to and from the state’s agricultural regions. Heavy truck traffic is just one reason why SR-99 has a reputation for being one of the deadliest highways in California.

Motorists should be aware that any road can be dangerous. We can only ensure that we follow traffic rules, wear our seatbelt and avoid driving when it’s busy or in bad weather.

Johnson Attorneys Group has compiled this information to inform motorists traveling in California. We hope this news information is timely and helpful. However, if you would like to contribute any information or have legal questions, please contact us as soon as possible. Our law firm is a proud, longtime supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Sources: MoneyGeek, CHP, NHTSA

James Johnson

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