The major freeway that runs north and south in Texas is Interstate 35, more colloquially referred to as I-35. While the highway is an extremely effective means of north-and-south transportation across the state, as it stretches from Laredo in the south to Gainesville in the north and passes through San Antonio, Waco, and Austin, it’s also one of the deadliest highways in both the state and the country.
I-35 is used daily by freight trucks, business travelers, and commuters, and is a central hub of transportation in the state of Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, I-35 made up 11 of the 100 most congested roadways in Texas in 2010, and the use of the highway has only grown since.
Interstate 35 north and south covers 407 miles not including the additional 85 and 97 mile segments of I-35 east (the stretches of I-35 that split and pass through both Dallas and Fort Worth). Interstate 35 passes through Laredo and south Texas, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and Central Texas, Denton and north Texas. The majority of I-35 is 6 to 8 lanes in width, although sections of the highway only have 4 lanes. The speed limit on the majority of the highway was previously between 45 and 65 miles per hour, but Texans have welcomed new regulations allowing speed limits to be increased to 70, 75, and 80 miles per hour.
Interstate 35 in Texas has made the top 20 list of most dangerous highways in America, and is one of the top 10 most deadly roads in Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation reported 3,399 traffic fatalities in 2012, and 63,610 crashes that resulted in serious injuries across the state in the same year. Many of these fatalities and crashes occurred along the I-35 corridor. From the years 2004 through 2008, there were 579 fatal accidents on I-35, resulting in 659 fatalities. Because the number of instate miles that I-35 covers is 504, the number of fatal accidents per mile on I-35 was 1.15 between 2004 and 2008.
Why is I-35 so dangerous?
Speculation based on statistics would lead us to a conclusion that Interstate 35 is a long stretch of road that’s full of aggressive and distracted drivers. However, aggressive and distracted drivers alone aren’t the cause for the large number of accidents that occur along the highway. Rather, large amounts of congestion as well as the sizable number of large trucks that utilize the highway are more to blame. Nearly all goods that enter the country from Mexico use I-35, as the road is vital to U.S. and Mexico trade. The substantial number of semi and 18-wheelers on the road not only contribute to the massive levels of traffic, but also create a higher accident probability rate. Large trucks are more susceptible to accidents than are smaller vehicles, and commercial motor vehicles carrying goods were involved in 26,403 accidents in Texas in 2012, many of which occurred along Interstate 35.
The state of Texas and the Texas Department of Transportation have acknowledged the problem of congestion along I-35, and the inherent dangers and risks associated with the congestion. As such, they are exploring options for making the route more efficient and safe. If you’ve been injured or know someone who has been injured in an accident on I-35 contact Tate Law Offices by calling 888-662-3892 for a free case review.