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Research shows Highway 99 America’s most dangerous



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by David Taub

Fresno has earned another dubious distinction: most dangerous highway in America.  A group called ValuePenguin rated Highway 99, which runs from Sacramento to Bakersfield as the deadliest based on fatal accidents per 100 freeway miles.

The study is based on federal data from 2011 through 2015 based on number of accidents (not necessarily number of individual fatalities) per 100 miles of road. Highway 99 (officially State Route 99) had 264 fatal accidents per 424 miles of total road, for a rate of 62.3 deaths per 100 miles. Interstate-45 in Texas ranked second at 56.5.

According to ValuePenguin researcher Criag Casazza, 40% of the fatal accidents were caused by poor lighting conditions. Nearly 25% were a result of DUI.

“Maybe we can do more to make the highway safer,” Casazza says. “Maybe, we are not instilling enough messages of not drinking and driving. Maybe better infrastructure.”

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) hopes his colleagues in Sacramento will take notice.  “I drive that stretch of highway getting back and forth from Sacramento. The danger on that highway is when it goes from three lanes down to two,” Patterson tells GVWire. “I hope that report begins to stir my colleagues in northern and southern California to make a strong decision to at least get six lanes from Bakersfield to Sacramento. It will safer. It will be much easier to driver. There will be fewer accidents.”

There is some questioning over ValuePenguin’s methodology. It is not an academic nor research-based company. It describes itself as helping develop online  tools “ to help consumers understand the topics they’re interested in.”

James C. Walker, executive director of National Motorist Association, a grassroots organization for motorist rights, blasted the study in an online comment.  “Using the length of the highway rather than the ridership makes the data utterly meaningless.”

The full study can be read here.

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Rank Highway Length of Road (mi) Total Fatal Accidents Deaths per 100 Miles
1 SR-99 California 424 264 62.3
2 I-45 285 161 56.5
3 I-95 1,926 1,061 55.1
4 I-10 2,460 1,342 54.5
5 I-75 1,786 844 47.2


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