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Dangerous Roads Kill In California

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James E. Ballidis
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California drivers, especially in the state’s southern region, are quite familiar with dangerous roads. Not surprisingly, fifty percent of the nation’s most pernicious roads can be found in California. The three most deadly traverse Los Angeles County, according to a recent study of U.S. Department of Transportation statistics by the Scripps Howard News Service.

The study examined 562,712 auto accidents resulting in fatality spanning the years of 1994 and 2008, delineating a pattern of accidents on particular highways throughout the United States. San Bernadino’s I-15, which connects southern California to Las Vegas, proved the most deadly, with 834 accidents and 1,069 fatalities. The I-10 in Riverside County had a total of 440 accidents with 515 deaths. Ranking in third place, the I-5, which passes through Los Angeles County, had 494 deaths.

While the I-5—the corridor connecting San Diego to Los Angeles—is the most hazardous to Orange County drivers, major highways, in general, are not as dangerous as smaller state thoroughfares and county and municipal roads. 71% of fatal accidents occur on such roads.

Orange County’s scenic Ortega Highway, or Route 74, is one of the area’s most dangerous roads: last month yet another vehicle climbed over the embankment, falling 30 feet. Miraculously, the driver survived; others have not had been so lucky. Plagued by monthly motorcycle accidents, head-on collisions, and fatalities, many in Orange County are questioning the lack of maintenance and preventative measures to improve motorists’ safety on the highway.

Better planning for future state highways and municipal roads is also crucial. Replacing dangerous intersections and engineering more effective medians, guard rails, and rumble strips could save lives.

In the past, automobile-related fatalities were often attributed to speeding, unfastened seat belts, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These days, “unexplained” causes are rising. Distracted drivers or unreported safety hazards may be to blame.

In an effort to track and ameliorate hazardous driving conditions, the Scripps Howard News Service has started a “killer roads” project. Whereas before the task of finding and fixing dangerous roadways fell on local governments and community groups, the public can now send complaints regarding dangerous situations to the Scripps Howard project’s website: www.scrippsnews.com/killerroads/complaintform. The information will then be sent to local authorities.

Reporting dangerous road conditions saves lives.

Category: Car Accidents

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