Busy roads with many types of drivers can increase the odds for accidents, especially for truckers in bad weather. Certain interstate highways are particularly dangerous based on accident rates in recent years. This is the fourth of five articles ranking the most dangerous interstates.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks were involved in 1,137 fatal accidents on interstates in 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available; 451 of those accidents happened in rainy or snowy conditions, an increase of 5.3% from 2017. The FMCSA defines large trucks as those with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), maintained by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Interstate 95 is the second-most dangerous interstate for truckers. This was based on fatal accident statistics for all drivers that occurred in either rain or snow. The most recent numbers are from 2011 to 2015. Interstate 75 ranks third, Interstate 20 ranks fourth and Interstate 77 ranks fifth.
During those five years, I-95 — which stretches from Florida to Maine — had a frequency of 5.7 fatalities for every 100 miles during rain or snow. It ranked highest regarding the total number of deaths in rain or snow, with 109.
Interstate 95 corridor. (Image: Wikimedia)
I-95 is the main interstate highway along the U.S. East Coast, stretching from south Florida to the Houlton-Woodstock Border Crossing on the Maine-Canada border. The highway largely parallels the Atlantic coast and U.S. Highway 1, except for the portion between Savannah, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., which follows a more direct inland route. Major cities connected by I-95 include Miami and Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah; Richmond, Virgina; Washington; Baltimore; Philadelphia; New York City; Providence, Rhode Island; and Boston.
I-95 is one of the oldest routes of the Interstate Highway System. With a length of 1,908 miles, it’s the longest north-south interstate and the sixth-longest interstate overall. It passes through 15 states, more than any other interstate.
One of the worst multi-vehicle accidents in U.S. history happened on I-95 in Stafford County, Virginia. More than 130 vehicles slammed into each other during heavy snowfall on the morning of Feb. 22, 2001, resulting in 100 injured people and one death.
The accident scene was more than 3 miles long and left dozens of drivers stranded. As the cars continued to pile up, many drivers left their vehicles to find shelter, trying to avoid being injured by flying debris as vehicles collided. Due to the severity of the incident, the southbound lanes of I-95 were closed until 9 p.m. that night, causing traffic to back up over 12 miles.
Truckers can keep track of real-time traffic on I-95 here. No. 1 on the list of most dangerous interstates will be revealed Friday.