America's Interstate Highway System, it truly is an engineering spectacle and probably should be considered one of the "wonders of the modern world". Just think about all of those miles of pavement, guard rails, exit signs, potholes, and speed traps that go into creating the highways that make travel across our country a lot simpler and a lot faster.

Staff Photo
Staff Photo

Of course, with the "faster" aspect of Interstate Highway travel, there are some safety concerns that will need to be realized. Here in Louisiana, we have two of the nation's deadliest Interstate Highways that pass through our borders. You've probably guessed what those roadways are but what might surprise you is how dangerous these roadways are when you define "safety" in the form of statistics.

The deadliest of our nation's Interstate highways doesn't even run through Louisiana but if you've travelled along the East Coast or through portions of Flordia you have experienced the white-knuckle thrill ride that is I-95. I have driven that roadway in Florida and in New England and I can tell you it has all the trappings of a NASCAR race without the fancy sponsor's messages. The speed and the loose nuts behind the wheel are quite prevalent on I-95.

The second deadliest Interstate Highway in the country does run through Louisiana and you just might be driving on it today. That is, of course, Interstate 10. Here in our part of South Louisiana, we know about crashes on I-10. Just yesterday a seven-vehicle crash near the Texas line created a 15-mile backup. There were also reports of motorists needing two hours to get from Lafayette through Baton Rouge, a distance of 50 miles, because of a crash on I-10.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that were compiled by Stacker there were 325 fatalities reported on I-10 in 2020. That breaks down to a little over 13 fatalities for every 100 miles of roadway. To put that in perspective the Texas line to Ambassador Caffery Parkway in Lafayette is a distance of 100  miles. That's a lot of fatal crashes for such a short distance.

Granted I-10 is the fourth-longest interstate highway in the nation covering some 2,460 miles between California to the west and Florida to the east. The roadway winds through eight different states and features two of the most dangerous bridges in the country in the form of the Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge between Lafayette and Baton Rouge.

The other Interstate Highway that made this dubious Top Ten List was I-20. That roadway runs from far west Texas to Florence South Carolina. The roadway covers some 1,539 miles and runs through six states. In Louisiana, I-20 runs along our northern border with Arkansas and is a major thoroughfare for traffic between the cities of Shreveport, Ruston, Monroe, and Vicksburg Mississippi.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 203 people lost their lives in crashes on I-20 last year. That averages out to 13 fatalities about every 13.2 miles. Among the larger cities that I-20 serves are Fort Worth and Dallas Texas, Jackson Mississippi, Birmingham Alabama, Atlanta Georgia, and Columbia South Carolina.

And while these statistics about fatal crashes on big highways in the state might seem a little sobering these roads are not the most dangerous roadway in Louisiana. That distinction belongs to another highway that many drivers in South Louisiana say has given them religion. That roadway is US Highway 90 and you can read more about that right here. 

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