Treacherous transportation

Harris County ranks 10th in the nation in traffic fatalities, says new report

Harris County ranks 10th in U.S. in traffic fatalities, says report

Houston aerial skyline with traffic on the highway
Drive safely, Houston. Art Wager/Getty Images

Drivers in the Houston area who feel that roads are getting increasingly treacherous are on to something. A new report ranks Harris County in the top 10 cities in the U.S. for traffic fatalities per 100,000 people. 

In a new study from Austin-based insurance marketplace The Zebra, Harris County recorded 8.94 vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people in 2019. That puts the county No. 10 overall in the nation.

“We all have the power to end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said November 7 at a news conference in Houston.

The Texas Department of Transportation says for the past several years, about 10 people have died each day in traffic crashes around the state. The agency recently introduced the #EndTheStreakTX campaign, aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities in Texas.

Nationally, claiming the No. 1 spot in The Zebra’s study is I-95, which stretches along the entire East Coast. Major cities along the route include Boston, New York City, Baltimore, and Miami. In 2019, I-95 racked up 14.88 traffic deaths per 100 miles for a total of 284 fatalities.

Leading the list of deadly counties is Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, Florida. In 2019, Hillsborough County registered 14.83 vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people.

Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas County shows up at No. 8, with 10.19 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2019. 

Motorists on I-35 should keep their heads on a swivel: The highway ranks as the country’s fifth most deadly road on a per-mile basis. I-20 appears at No. 2.

The ranking draws on data from federal agencies and transportation studies. I-35, which snakes through Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth, recorded 12.56 traffic deaths per 100 miles in 2019. That year, 197 fatalities were reported along I-35.

The highway runs from Minnesota to South Texas.

I-20, which cuts through Dallas-Fort Worth, recorded 13.52 traffic deaths per 100 miles in 2019, according to the study. That year, fatalities on I-20 totaled 208. I-20, going from West Texas to South Carolina, “is one of the shorter highways on the list but is still quite dangerous,” The Zebra says.

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