Arizona had one of the top five most dangerous highways in America during summer months in recent years, a study found.
ASecureLife.com listed the most dangerous highways in each state between May through September from 2015 to 2017, based on fatalities. Interstate 10, which runs for 329 miles in Arizona, had 100 fatalities during that study period.
That’s the fifth-largest number for an individual highway in the country during that period, behind only Interstate 5 in California (192), U.S. Route 1 in Florida (160), the I-10 stretch in Texas (154), and Interstate 75 in Georgia (111).
All of the data that was collected in the study comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
Andréa Harvey, Research and Communications Specialist for ASecureLife.com, worked closely with Brianne Sandorf, who wrote the report. Harvey said the publication wanted to bring awareness to summer travelers about highway risks.
The next two deadliest highways in Arizona during summer months between 2015 and 2017 were I-40 with 51 fatalities and I-17 with 49 fatalities, according to the study.
However, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve Elliott believes the study doesn’t do its due diligence in determining the true safety of I-10.
“Fatalities alone shouldn’t be the sole indicator of a roadway’s safety performance,” he said. “You need to look at variables including traffic volume, as I-10 is the state’s longest and most-traveled freeway, with much of it passing through the state’s largest metropolitan areas.”
Harvey said fatalities were the only data point assessed in the study. It would be extremely difficult to acquire specific numbers of every variable that contributes to highway fatalities in all states, such as impaired drivers or people exceeding the speed limit, she said.
Elliott notes that driver behavior is “far and away” the leading factor in highway accidents.
“I-10 is a safe highway, designed to meet exacting safety standards,” he said. “But as with any highway, safety is dependent upon smart driving.”
According to ADOT, vehicle condition and access to emergency services are two main factors that should be taken into account when looking at a highway’s safety.
It’s also valuable to examine all types of crashes, ranging from minor fender benders to severe injury and fatal collisions, ADOT added.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety had no comment on the study.