One Arizona highway has been deemed one of the top five most dangerous roads during summer months in the United States, according to Interstate 10 runs from the California border, through Phoenix and Tucson, and into New Mexico.

From 2015-2017, approximately 2,847 people were killed in crashes on Arizona roads. I-10 was ranked the deadliest highway in Arizona with 100 fatalities occurring on that roadway in the May-to-September periods between 2015-2017. In addition, I-10 ranked just behind Interstate 5 in California, U.S. Route 1 in Florida, I-10 in Texas, and Interstate 75 in Georgia.

State officials say driver error is to blame

The news about I-10 Arizona’s ranking has reportedly upset state officials, according to StreetsBlog. The data was initially released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but compiled into a study by security company Secure Life. The purpose of the study was to raise awareness regarding the risks of summer travel when vacationing is at its peak.

State officials condemned the study for scrutinizing the roadway rather than focusing on driver error, which accounts for 94 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities.

“It misses the point by focusing on the highway itself, instead of the behavior of the people who drive on it,” said Steve Elliot, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) in the Arizona Daily Star.

Is road infrastructure a factor in crashes?

Elliot asserted that I-10 meets the required state and federal safety standards.

“Fatalities alone really shouldn’t be the sole indicator of a highway’s safety performance,” he said.

It is important, however, to take roadway infrastructure factors into consideration, such as poor lighting, and lane size, according to StreetsBlog. In addition, Arizona has a highway speed limit of 75 mph, and according to NHTSA statistics, speed was a factor in 26 percent of all nationwide traffic fatalities.

What’s even more alarming, the entire stretch of I-10 was deemed the fourth-deadliest roadway in the US by researchers at ValuePenguin. This is due to its fatal crash rate of 54.4 per 100 miles of road. ValuePenguin also ranked I-10 the second darkest highway in the US and fourth for drunk driving.

Roadway infrastructure may not typically be a sole factor in a crash. In many cases, however, it can be a contributing factor. Driver error is still the leading cause of crashes. Regardless of how inefficient the infrastructure is on a certain road, crashes can be prevented when drivers stay attentive, travel at a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and stay alert.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash on I-10 or any other roadway in the greater Phoenix area, get an experienced car accident attorney on your side as soon as possible. Schedule your free consultation with the legal team at Israel & Gerity, PLLC by contacting us online.