This Washington Interstate Was Named the Deadliest Road in the U.S

Washington State is known for its scenic landscapes, diverse culture, and progressive policies. But it also has a dark side: a highway that has been dubbed the deadliest road in the U.S.

What is the Interstate 5?

The Interstate 5, or I-5, is a major north-south route that runs along the West Coast of the U.S. It connects the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and crosses the borders of Mexico and Canada. It is the only interstate highway that touches both the Pacific Ocean and the Canadian border.

The I-5 spans about 1,381 miles (2,222 km) and passes through major cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. It is one of the busiest and most congested highways in the country, carrying millions of vehicles every day.

Why is the I-5 so dangerous?

According to a recent study by Geotab, a fleet management company, the I-5 is the most fatal road in the U.S., based on the number of traffic deaths per mile from 2016 to 2019. The study analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found that the I-5 had 675 fatal crashes and 755 deaths in that period, resulting in an average of 0.545 deaths per mile.

The study also ranked the most dangerous sections of the I-5, based on the number of fatal crashes per mile. The top three sections were:

  • Between mile marker 308 and 309 in Portland, Oregon, with 8 fatal crashes and 13 deaths
  • Between mile marker 155 and 156 in Seattle, Washington, with 6 fatal crashes and 8 deaths
  • Between mile marker 786 and 787 in Los Angeles, California, with 5 fatal crashes and 5 deaths

Some of the factors that contribute to the high fatality rate of the I-5 are:

  • High traffic volume and congestion, especially in urban areas, which increase the risk of collisions and delays
  • Frequent weather changes and poor visibility, especially in the northern sections, which affect road conditions and driver behavior
  • Diverse terrain and elevation changes, which pose challenges for drivers and vehicles, especially in the mountainous and rural sections
  • Lack of adequate safety features and infrastructure, such as guardrails, median barriers, lighting, signage, and emergency lanes, which limit the prevention and response to accidents

What can be done to improve the safety of the I-5?

The I-5 is a vital artery for the West Coast economy and society, but it also poses a serious threat to the lives of its users. To reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on the I-5, some of the possible solutions are:

  • Investing in road maintenance and improvement, such as repairing potholes, widening lanes, adding shoulders, installing rumble strips, and upgrading bridges and tunnels
  • Enhancing traffic management and enforcement, such as implementing variable speed limits, deploying cameras and sensors, and increasing patrols and checkpoints
  • Promoting driver education and awareness, such as providing information on road conditions, hazards, and safety tips, and encouraging responsible driving habits and behaviors
  • Supporting alternative modes of transportation, such as expanding public transit, carpooling, and biking options, and incentivizing their use


The I-5 is a notorious highway that has claimed hundreds of lives over the years. It is a complex and challenging road that requires careful planning, preparation, and attention from its users. By working together, the government, the private sector, and the public can make the I-5 a safer and more efficient road for everyone.

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