A newly-released report has pinpointed Highway 99, in California’s Central Valley, as the deadliest major highway in the country, after finding that the 400-mile stretch of road has been the site of at least 62 fatal accidents per 100 miles over a five-year span.
The report, which was created and released by ValuePenguin on Thursday, also listed Fresno as the deadliest city for driving in California, with 34 fatal accidents taking place there. It also ranked Texas’s I-45 in second place, with nearly 57 fatal accidents per 100 miles, and the I-95, spanning from Florida to Maine, in third place with 55 fatal accidents per 100 miles.
According to the Fresno Bee, ValuePenguin is a private consumer research organization based in New York that reviews personal finance products and also analyzes consumer data.
Based on data provided by ValuePenguin, which was received from the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration, California’s Highway 99 had 264 fatal accidents between 2011 and 2015, and 50 of those involved drunken driving.
The bulk of those fatalities took place in the Modesto area which listed 35 in total.
Not everyone agreed with the findings. James C. Walker of the National Motorists Association posted a comment on the published report and suggested that “using the length of the highway rather than the ridership makes the data utterly meaningless”:
The only valid comparison between roads, areas, or time frames is events per miles driven, usually quoted in X events per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. For example, if you compared 100 miles of a busy freeway to 100 miles of quiet rural county roads in the same area, the fatalities on the freeway would be massive by comparison. But the freeway would be vastly safer per mile traveled than the rural county roads – by at least a factor of two and maybe as much as four.
According to the Bee, “California highway officials have been working on $1 billion worth of safety and efficiency improvements on Highway 99 over the past 10 years, using some of the $20 billion in infrastructure bonds approved by state voters in 2006 under Proposition 1B” (also known as the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality,and Port Security Bond Act of 2006).
At the time, authors of the measure reportedly wrote that “Funds may be used for safety, operational enhancements, rehabilitation, or capacity improvements necessary to improve the State Route 99 corridor traversing approximately 400 miles of the central valley of this state.”
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