The 1-10 and I-15 Interchanges in San Bernadino County. Photo: Cocoi_m/Flickr
Back in January, the Daily Beast, listed nation's most congested highways. The I-101, aka the Hollywood Freeway, was ranked #1, aka the most congested highway in the country. Earlier this week, they came out with a list of the "deadliest" highways, and two Southern California roads, the I-15 and I-10 finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The methodology for the study is pretty simple. The Daily Beast took the total number of fatalities on a highway over a five year period and divided by lane miles to see how many people died on the highway every mile. For the I-15, that number was over three dead people for every two miles. Closer to home, the I-10 is "only" home to 1.4 deaths per mile. Honestly? These numbers are pretty sickening.
Because while there are always infrastructure changes proposed when someone is killed crossing the street, or riding their bike; there is rarely a call to slow down or otherwise calm traffic on freeways even when the "let's move as many people as fast as possible" mantra is literally leading to an intolerable level of carnage on the highways.
Of course, we know that there are few ends that speeding traffic advocates won't go to justify keeping limits as high as possible. It was less than a year ago that the California Highway Patrol and AAA teamed up to torpedo legislation that would have calmed traffic on local streets. Can you imagine the outrage if laws were proposed to slow traffic on highways?
Speeding traffic advocates like to point to "efficiency" as a reason to keep traffic on every road moving as quickly as engineers can help them move. Whether it's highways or local streets, this kind of thinking leads to more death in the name of speeding traffic. You can look at all of the data in the world about the correlation between car speed and fatalities; or just look at the two Daily Beast studies. You won't find any of the "top 10" most congested highways, i.e. the ones with the slowest traffic, appearing on the list of deadly highways.