If you drew a triangle from Dallas, down to San Antonio, over to Houston, and back to Dallas, most Texans live inside this Texas Triangle. Some analysts consider Oklahoma City and Tulsa part of the Texas Triangle. But we see these cities more like Texas suburbs. Since so many people live in the Texas Triangle, it’s not surprising that the most dangerous freeways in Texas are also in this area.
Nevertheless, we rank them below according to fatal accidents per mile.
Incidentally, most car crashes are not “car accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They don’t accidentally drive drunk and cause crashes. However, if negligence, or a lack of care, causes injury, a Houston car accident attorney can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, 4.1 Fatal Accidents Per Mile
The deadliest stretch of the deadliest road in Texas is roughly between downtown Dallas and Love Field, an airport in north-central Dallas.
Construction and traffic are two of the most significant issues on this portion of this freeway. The Stemmons Freeway/Thornton Freeway interchange was one of the most deadly freeway interchanges in the country. City planners have fixed that interchange, but the construction has created problems elsewhere.
Like bad weather, lane closures and other construction projects do not excuse negligent driving. If anything, drivers must be even more careful around hazards like bad weather and lane closures. That’s especially true of the truck drivers mentioned above.
Marvin D. Love Freeway, Dallas, 3.3 FAPM
This part of U.S. Highway 67 connects two major freeways. But, perhaps, more importantly, the busy Dallas Executive Airport is off Marvin D. Love. This proximity means excessive speed is a problem on this freeway.
Excessive velocity increases the risk of a collision. When drivers apply brakes, their vehicles keep moving forward. At 30mph, the stopping distance for most cars and trucks is about six car lengths. At 60mph, the stopping distance multiplies to eighteen car lengths.
Speed also multiplies the force in a collision, according to Newton’s Second Law of Gravity. In other words, a low-speed fender-bender is a high-speed serious or fatal injury collision.
Even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was traveling below the speed limit at the time of the wreck, a Houston personal injury lawyer could still obtain the compensation in court.
Tomball Parkway, Houston, 3.2 FAPM
Like the stretch of State Highway 449 on either side of the Sam Houston Parkway, long, straight roadways are hazardous for drowsy drivers. Many commuters are on this section of the Parkway early in the morning and late in the evening. Most people are naturally fatigued during these hours, regardless of how much sleep they had.
Most people at least think twice before they drive while intoxicated. But most people don’t think twice about driving while fatigued. That’s unfortunate because drowsiness and alcohol intoxication have the same physical and mental effects.
Both conditions slow reaction times and impair judgment. Driving after twenty consecutive awake hours is like diving with a .08 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit in Texas.
Interstate 35, Austin, 3.1 FAPM
The relevant stretch of I-35 is in far north Austin before traffic stacks up. Distracted driving, explicitly driving and using a hands-free cell phone, is a significant problem on this dangerous Texas freeway.
Much like drowsy driving, many people don’t appreciate the risk of driving while using a hands-free phone. Of course, hands-free is a little safer than hand-held. At least these drivers keep both hands on the wheel.
But hands-free gadgets are visually and mentally distracting. Users take their eyes off the road and their minds off driving. The bottom line is that using a hands-free phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk.
Statistically, devices only cause a few distracted driving wrecks in Texas. Other issues include eating while driving, drinking while driving, reading while driving, and talking to passengers. Harris County jurors sometimes overlook non-device distractions. A Houston personal injury attorney must thoroughly evaluate these cases.
Interstate 20, Fort Worth, 2.8 FAPM
Driver error is an issue on this part of Interstate 20, which is basically in semi-rural Tarrant and Parker Counties. However, hospital availability, or rather the lack thereof, is an even bigger issue.
When serious wrecks happen in this area, the nearest available trauma center might be ten or fifteen minutes away, even by medevac flight. Emergency medical technicians can only temporarily stabilize these victims. The three or four extra minutes of travel time might be three or four minutes too many.
On a related note, distance also inflates medical bill costs. For example, a brief medevac flight might cost more than $40,000. Yet, group health insurance companies only rarely pay these bills.
State Highway 183, Dallas, 2.6 FAPM
Drunk drivers cause about a third of the fatal accidents on the stretch of the Airport Freeway between Irving, a Dallas suburb, and Euless, a Fort Worth suburb. We mentioned the effects of alcohol above.
Legally, victim/plaintiffs may use the negligence per se rule or the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation for damages.
Negligence per se is a violation of safety laws, such as the DUI law. If a tortfeasor violates this law and causes injury, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Ordinary negligence is a lack of care. The duty of reasonable care requires motorists to be alert, sober, and otherwise at their physical and mental best before they get behind the wheel. Even a single sip of alcohol breaches that duty. One for the road is one too many.
Loop 12, Dallas, 2.5 FAPM
Since it goes through an older part of Dallas, medical conditions, a relatively rare form of driver impairment, are standard on the part of Loop 12 that runs through southeast Dallas. Chronic conditions that could cause a sudden loss of consciousness include diabetes, epilepsy, and heart disease.
Compensation is often higher in these cases. Alcohol, fatigue, and other such impairments primarily affect the mind. So, these individuals aren’t thinking clearly. But medical conditions primarily affect the body. These tortfeasors know full well they shouldn’t drive. Yet they do so anyway. So, they intentionally put people at risk.
LBJ Freeway, Dallas, 2.5 FAPM
There’s nothing extraordinary about this stretch of Interstate 635 in East Dallas. Yet, a disproportionately high number of fatal crashes occur here. Since this part of Dallas is not a central urban area, excessive speed could be an issue.
Interstate 45, Houston, 2.4 FAPM
Most fatal collisions on the Gulf Freeway between Airtex Dive and Metro TX 249 station are on the straight portion of the freeway. That’s especially true in early mornings or late afternoons.
Interstate 45, Houston, 2.3 FAPM
The portion of the Gulf Freeway that goes through Downtown Houston doesn’t see as many fatal accidents as the sections on the city’s outskirts, probably because the traffic is heavier and slower. But the three areas together are sufficient to give Interstate 45 the dubious title of the most dangerous freeway in the country.
Accident victims are often entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart & Boundas Boundas LLP. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.