Heads up, Houston drivers: I-45 declared most dangerous U.S. highway in new national study

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Houston (Pixabay)

Affirming what us Houstonians have suspected for quite some time, drivers on Interstate 45, which runs north from Galveston to Dallas through Houston, face the deadliest drive in the country, according to a new national study. This confirmation comes courtesy of Budget Direct, an auto insurance company.

The road has seen 56.5 fatal accidents for every 100 miles of roadway, thanks to a combination of busy, urban stretches and driver complacency, according to the report.

Harris County is currently suing the Texas Department of Transportation to prevent a planned $7 billion expansion of the road.

To determine the country’s most dangerous roadway, Budget Direct’s researchers compiled accident rate data from government sites and transport associations.

Houston drivers, you’ve been warned. Stay safe out there.

RELATED: ‘Stop putting cars over people’: Harris County sues TxDOT over I-45 expansion project

Approximately 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes, according to the World Health Organization, and more than half of these deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

Even though Americans drove less in 2020 due to the pandemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded a 7.2 percent increase in fatalities amid a 13 percent decline in traffic volume.

“Perversely, the ‘quiet time’ of pandemic lockdown only made things worse,” researchers stated in Budget Direct’s study. “Empty roads encouraged racy driving, and blood spilled.”

NHTSA’s early estimates show that an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes—the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007, according to a June release.  The main behaviors that drove the increase include, impaired driving, speeding and failure to wear a seat belt.

RELATED: Federal officials tell TxDOT to halt I-45 expansion


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.