Texas Fatal Accident Study:

What Are The Deadliest Roads in Texas, and How Do They Compare to Drunk Driving?

MoneyGeek examined 10,137 fatal crashes in Texas to find its deadliest stretches of road and gather insights about what may contribute most to fatal accidents in the state.

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Map of Every Fatal Accident in Texas 2017-2019

Every fatal accident in Texas 2017-2019. Source: MoneyGeek

MoneyGeek's analysis of 10,137 fatal crashes in Texas from 2017 to 2019 included accidents on 3,909 roads in the state. The study looked at weather conditions, time of day and drunk driving rates, and we summarized data for each county in the state, including the deadliest road in each county.

Summary Findings:

  • 25% of fatal accidents were drunk driving-related. In contrast, when analyzing specific roads, the road with the most fatal accidents (I-20) only accounted for 2% of fatalities. I-20, stretching 636 miles east to west across the state, had 214 fatal crashes over the three-year study period.

  • 3 out of 10 deadliest 5-mile stretches in Texas are in Dallas. One of those stretches includes the Texas 12 Loop. The entire Texas 12 Loop had most of the city’s 42 fatal crashes from 2017 to 2019.

  • Two different 5-mile segments of I-45 in Houston are listed on our 10 deadliest 5-mile stretches. I-45 is the deadliest road in all of Harris County, with 38 fatal crashes in the period analyzed.

The 10 Most Deadly Stretches of Road in Texas

1. Stemmons Freeway (I-35E) - Dallas

Stemmons Freeway (US-77)

Description: US-77/ I-35E Between the I-30 Interchange and Exit 434

Fatal Accidents 2017-2019: 20

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 4.1

2. Marvin D Love Freeway - Dallas

Marvin D Love Freeway

Description: Between Camp Wilson Road and Illinois Avenue

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 15

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 3.3

3. Tomball Parkway (TX-249) - Houston

Tomball Parkway (TX-249)

Description: Between Antoine Dr. and W. Greens Rd.

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 14

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 3.2

4. I-35 - Austin

I-35

Description: Between Exit 244 and the interchange with Rte 290

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 14

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 3.1

5. Texas 12 Loop - Dallas

Texas 12 Loop

Description: Between South Lancaster Rd. and Longacre Lane

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 12

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 2.5

6. I-45 - Houston

I-45

Description: Exit 63 (Airtex Dr.) to Metro TX 249 station

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 12

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 2.4

7. Lyndon B Johnson Freeway - Mesquite and Garland

Lyndon B Johnson Freeway

Description: Jupiter Road to the I-30 interchange

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 12

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 2.5

8. TX 183 - Irving, Fort Worth, and Euless

TX 183

Description: N. Beltline Rd. to N. Industrial Blvd.

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 12

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 2.6

9. I-20 - Fort Worth, Forest Hill, and Kennedale

I-20

Description: The I-820 interchange to the I-35 W Interchange

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 12

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 2.8

10. I-45 - Houston

I-45

Description: Rte. 5 to Exit 50

Fatal Accidents 2017–2019: 11

Fatal Accidents Per Mile: 2.3

25% of Fatal Accidents in Texas Were DUI-Related

From 2017–2019, a quarter of the 10,137 fatal accidents that occurred in Texas were because of drunk driving. In 2019 alone, 795 fatal crashes were drunk driving-related.

Driving impaired — even if you only have a small amount of alcohol in your system — can affect your driving ability. In Texas, you are legally intoxicated when your blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08%.

Month
Fatal Accidents
% of Year
Drunk Driving Related
Fatal Drunk Driving % Of Total

January

813

8.0%

211

26%

February

760

7.5%

202

27%

March

847

8.4%

211

25%

April

808

8.0%

217

27%

May

855

8.4%

229

27%

June

796

7.9%

177

22%

July

908

9.0%

223

25%

August

836

8.2%

221

26%

September

790

7.8%

178

23%

October

920

9.1%

220

24%

November

918

9.1%

245

27%

December

886

8.7%

216

24%

Total

10,137

100.0%

2,550

25%

Distracted Driving Is the Second-Leading Cause of Crashes

In 2020, distracted driving resulted in 364 deaths and 2,200 people being seriously injured, according to the TxDOT.

  • Hands-free tech doesn’t mean safety. Research shows that despite the use of a voice-to-text program or hands-free devices, drivers can still engage in distracted driving behaviors that affect the ability to drive safely.
  • Distraction is costly. A distracted driver can face a fine of up to $200 for writing or sending a text while driving in Texas.

10% of Crashes Are Weather-Related in Texas

Winter weather can create unpredictable and dangerous driving conditions — and Texas is not immune.

  • Over 70% of the country’s roads are located in snowy regions, and 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Administration.
  • 10% – or nearly 60,000 crashes – in 2019 were due to poor weather conditions like snow, ice, sleet and fog. Earlier this year, an icy pile of 130 vehicles killed six people and injured 65 on I-35 in Fort Worth — the result of a polar vortex moving farther south than usual.
  • Taking a few precautions in conditions like this can help drivers stay safe: Replace brittle windshield wipers and dirty headlights, maintain proper tire pressure and keep brakes up to date, decrease speed to avoid skids, and leave enough space between you and other vehicles. Stay safe on the road with even more tips.

Driving Safely Protects You, Others and Your Wallet

It's simple: The safer you drive, the more money you save in the long run. You'll also spare yourself a hard hit to the wallet if you have affordable auto insurance and the right full coverage policy in case of an accident. In fact, drivers could easily save themselves $457 — the average loss drivers experienced for newer car models that have been in accidents.

So what does Texas law require for coverage? A minimum of $30,000 for injury per person, up to $60,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage.

And the average annual cost to meet that full coverage in Texas is $1,316. But based on where you live in Texas, you can pay more or less. Drivers who live in more densely populated areas are likely to pay more than those in rural areas. For example, Houston and Dallas drivers pay, on average, $1,560 and $1,461, respectively. Smaller cities like El Paso and Austin pay an average of $1,151 and $1,218, respectively.

Each County’s Fatal Accidents and Most Dangerous Road

The top five counties with the highest fatal crashes each had more than 300 fatal crashes in a three-year period.

From 2017 to 2019, Harris County had 1,195 fatal crashes, resulting in 1,265 deaths. Of those, 38 occurred on I-45, making it the most dangerous road for Harris County. I-45 also turned out to be the most dangerous road for four other counties, including Galveston County, Walker County, Leon County and Freestone County.

At 806, Dallas County has the second-highest number of fatal crashes. Forty-four of those occurred on Texas Loop 12, making that the most dangerous road in Dallas County. Following Dallas County is Bexar County, which experienced 509 fatal crashes, resulting in 522 deaths during that same period. Of those, 23 occurred on Texas 1604 Loop.

See our table for the complete list.

County
Fatal Accidents
Deaths
Drunk Driving Deaths
% Drunk Driving
Most Deadly Road (Fatal Accidents)

Harris County

1195

1265

399

31.54%

I-45 (38)

Dallas County

806

846

243

28.72%

TX-12 Loop (44)

Bexar County

509

522

147

28.16%

TX-1604 Loop (23)

Tarrant County

476

515

87

16.89%

I-20 (32)

Travis County

337

357

76

21.29%

I-35 (36)

El Paso County

213

219

56

25.57%

TX-375 Loop (19)

Montgomery County

149

155

54

34.84%

TX-105 (16)

Hidalgo County

144

156

51

32.69%

US-281 (14)

Collin County

142

165

37

22.42%

US-75 (16)

Denton County

140

156

34

21.79%

US-377 (11)

Ector County

139

162

52

32.10%

I-20 (20)

Nueces County

126

136

28

20.59%

I-37 (13)

Smith County

125

141

25

17.73%

I-20 (11)

Lubbock County

123

128

43

33.59%

US-87 (10)

Midland County

121

139

43

30.94%

TX-349 (20)

Bell County

119

131

34

25.95%

I-14 (15)

Williamson County

111

121

33

27.27%

TX-29 (10)

Galveston County

110

118

41

34.75%

I-45 (12)

Brazoria County

110

121

38

31.40%

Hwy 6 (10)

Fort Bend County

106

110

30

27.27%

US-59 (11)

Jefferson County

106

114

22

19.30%

US-69 (20)

McLennan County

106

116

19

16.38%

US-77 (14)

Cameron County

82

89

10

11.24%

US-77 BUS (4)

Kaufman County

78

89

21

23.60%

TX-34 (11)

Gregg County

78

83

16

19.28%

US-259 (13)

Bastrop County

76

92

29

31.52%

TX-21 (21)

Liberty County

75

82

14

17.07%

TX-105 (9)

Johnson County

74

83

11

13.25%

TX-174 (11)

Hays County

71

80

20

25.00%

I-35 (13)

Potter County

71

83

19

22.89%

I-40 (5)

Ellis County

70

77

22

28.57%

I-35E (8)

Parker County

70

75

12

16.00%

FM 51 (10)

Webb County

69

82

21

25.61%

US-83 (13)

Hunt County

63

69

26

37.68%

US-69 (8)

Harrison County

62

68

23

33.82%

US-59 (9)

Grayson County

60

63

14

22.22%

US-75 (10)

Orange County

56

64

11

17.19%

US-90 (16)

Brazos County

53

57

14

24.56%

TX-21 (9)

Henderson County

51

55

15

27.27%

TX-31 (7)

Wise County

49

51

10

19.61%

US-81 (10)

Guadalupe County

49

57

10

17.54%

I-10 (12)

Walker County

46

54

9

16.67%

I-45 (12)

Reeves County

46

56

9

16.07%

US-285 (19)

Taylor County

46

53

8

15.09%

I-20 (9)

Rusk County

46

51

4

7.84%

US-79 (7)

Comal County

43

50

14

28.00%

I-35 (8)

Victoria County

43

55

12

21.82%

US-59 (12)

Angelina County

42

49

11

22.45%

US-69 (8)

Polk County

42

47

10

21.28%

US-59 (10)

Wichita County

40

43

12

27.91%

US-277 (8)

Milam County

39

45

15

33.33%

US-77 (8)

Waller County

39

45

11

24.44%

I-10 (7)

Van Zandt County

39

46

5

10.87%

State Hwy 64 (6)

Cherokee County

36

41

12

29.27%

US-69 (7)

Bowie County

36

40

7

17.50%

US-59 (6)

Nacogdoches County

35

38

8

21.05%

US-59 (7)

Medina County

35

44

9

20.45%

I-35 (7)

Grimes County

34

42

10

23.81%

TX-105 (7)

Hardin County

34

40

7

17.50%

US-96 (7)

Erath County

34

42

6

14.29%

US-67 (8)

Ward County

33

39

6

15.38%

I-20 (10)

Pecos County

33

36

5

13.89%

I-10 (8)

Lamar County

33

35

3

8.57%

US-271 (7)

San Patricio County

32

41

7

17.07%

I-37 (4)

Fannin County

31

36

10

27.78%

TX-78 (4)

Leon County

31

32

7

21.88%

I-45 (9)

Fayette County

31

46

6

13.04%

US-77 (6)

Wharton County

31

33

3

9.09%

US-59 (11)

Burnet County

30

33

10

30.30%

Ranch Rd 1431 (5)

Andrews County

30

40

7

17.50%

TX-176 (6)

Anderson County

30

35

6

17.14%

TX-19 (6)

Randall County

30

32

4

12.50%

TX-335 Loop (5)

Nolan County

29

34

7

20.59%

US-84 (10)

Hudspeth County

29

34

7

20.59%

I-10 (19)

Chambers County

29

35

6

17.14%

I-10 (8)

Hill County

29

34

4

11.76%

US-77 (5)

Shelby County

28

29

5

17.24%

TX-7 (6)

Caldwell County

28

35

5

14.29%

US-183 (5)

Tom Green County

27

30

9

30.00%

US-67 (7)

Howard County

27

27

6

22.22%

I-20 (10)

Hopkins County

27

29

5

17.24%

US-67 (6)

Winkler County

26

31

7

22.58%

TX-18 (8)

Cooke County

25

26

7

26.92%

US-77 (5)

Wood County

25

27

7

25.93%

TX-154 (4)

Panola County

25

29

6

20.69%

TX-315 (6)

Atascosa County

25

26

5

19.23%

US-281 (5)

Jim Wells County

25

26

3

11.54%

US-281 (7)

Matagorda County

24

27

5

18.52%

TX-60 (5)

Hood County

24

28

4

14.29%

Tin Top Hwy (4)

Colorado County

24

27

2

7.41%

US-90 (7)

Freestone County

24

26

1

3.85%

I-45 (5)

Rockwall County

23

23

9

39.13%

US-67 (6)

Coryell County

22

23

5

21.74%

TX-36 (4)

Upshur County

22

22

1

4.55%

FM 726 (4)

Gillespie County

21

26

9

34.62%

US-290 (8)

Montague County

21

23

6

26.09%

US-82 (3)

Bandera County

20

20

7

35.00%

TX-16 (7)

San Jacinto County

20

20

6

30.00%

US-59 (7)

Palo Pinto County

20

21

5

23.81%

US-281 (5)

Navarro County

20

23

4

17.39%

US-287 (6)

Callahan County

20

30

1

3.33%

I-20 (10)

Houston County

19

21

7

33.33%

TX-7 (5)

Cass County

19

21

6

28.57%

TX-77 (5)

Kerr County

19

21

5

23.81%

TX-16 (4)

Jasper County

19

21

4

19.05%

US-96 (7)

Robertson County

19

20

2

10.00%

Hwy 6 (6)

Eastland County

18

23

5

21.74%

I-20 (8)

Washington County

18

18

3

16.67%

US-290 (5)

Martin County

18

21

3

14.29%

TX-349 (4)

Titus County

18

25

2

8.00%

I-30 (6)

Madison County

18

19

1

5.26%

TX-21 (7)

Hale County

17

19

4

21.05%

US-87 (6)

La Salle County

17

18

3

16.67%

I-35 (9)

Gonzales County

17

22

3

13.64%

I-10 (7)

Lampasas County

17

19

2

10.53%

US-190 (6)

Kimble County

17

20

0

0.00%

I-10 (10)

Lee County

16

19

7

36.84%

US-290 (6)

Jones County

16

18

6

33.33%

US-83 (4)

Live Oak County

16

18

4

22.22%

I-37 (4)

Wilson County

16

17

3

17.65%

TX-123 (3)

Maverick County

16

19

3

15.79%

US-277 (7)

Gaines County

16

16

1

6.25%

US-62 (2)

Comanche County

16

21

1

4.76%

TX-16 (4)

Falls County

15

17

4

23.53%

Hwy 6 (5)

Frio County

15

17

1

5.88%

I-35 (5)

Kendall County

14

14

5

35.71%

US-87 (6)

San Augustine County

14

18

6

33.33%

US-96 (3)

Dewitt County

14

14

3

21.43%

TX-72 (2)

Moore County

14

18

3

16.67%

US-287 (5)

Aransas County

14

19

2

10.53%

TX-35 BUS (5)

Mitchell County

14

14

1

7.14%

I-20 (12)

Tyler County

14

20

0

0.00%

US-69 (5)

Burleson County

13

14

7

50.00%

TX-36 (3)

Lavaca County

13

15

5

33.33%

US-90 ALT (3)

Clay County

13

16

5

31.25%

US-287 (4)

Austin County

13

13

4

30.77%

TX-36 (3)

Jackson County

13

14

4

28.57%

TX-522 Loop (2)

Karnes County

13

14

2

14.29%

TX-80 (4)

Glasscock County

13

16

1

6.25%

TX-158 (4)

Wheeler County

13

17

1

5.88%

I-40 (6)

Red River County

12

13

2

15.38%

TX-37 (5)

Scurry County

12

12

1

8.33%

US-84 (4)

Duval County

12

17

1

5.88%

US-59 (4)

Llano County

11

14

6

42.86%

TX-71 (3)

Newton County

11

13

4

30.77%

State Hwy 87 (5)

Culberson County

11

15

3

20.00%

US-62 (4)

Mills County

11

11

2

18.18%

US-84 (5)

Marion County

11

13

2

15.38%

US-59 (3)

Crockett County

11

14

2

14.29%

I-10 (5)

Kleberg County

11

11

1

9.09%

US-77 (4)

Donley County

11

12

1

8.33%

US-287 (8)

Blanco County

11

14

1

7.14%

US-281 (6)

Willacy County

10

13

5

38.46%

US-77 (4)

Starr County

10

11

3

27.27%

US-83 (5)

Terry County

10

10

2

20.00%

US-62 (5)

Upton County

10

10

2

20.00%

TX-349 (3)

Gray County

10

15

3

20.00%

I-40 (4)

Wilbarger County

10

12

2

16.67%

US-70 (2)

Limestone County

10

13

2

15.38%

TX-164 (2)

Dimmit County

10

17

1

5.88%

US-83 (3)

Deaf Smith County

10

12

0

0.00%

US-60 (2)

Bosque County

10

16

0

0.00%

Hwy 6 (4)

Methodology

MoneyGeek analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS (fatal accident reporting system) database using fatality data from 2017, 2018 and 2019. 2019 is the latest data available in the system.

About the Author


expert-profile

As a longtime writer and editor with a master's degree in journalism, Erin has written about a variety of topics over the years including lifestyle, business, entertainment and government, but she has spent the last few years focused on various money topics like banking, insurance and budgeting for AAA Living Magazine, Wells Fargo and BB&T. She loves creating content that inspires financial empowerment.


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