In Arizona, hundreds of people are killed in motor vehicle collisions every year. In fact, over the last 20 years, the state averaged nearly 1,000 annual traffic fatalities. Where are the most dangerous places on Arizona roads? Are there areas were motorists are killed at higher rates? We examined 20 years of fatal crash data from the NHTSA to find out what stretches of highway in Arizona are the deadliest. Based on this data found, we identified the ten most deadliest five-mile stretches of road in the state, based on fatal collision volume.
At MKD Law Group, we understand the devastating impact a fatal car accident can take on victims and their families. This motivated us to identify the deadliest stretches of highway in Arizona, to provide drivers with helpful information to stay safe on the road.
We worked with data visualization agency 1Point21 Interactive to analyze fatal car crash data from the NHTSA to identify the highway segments with the most fatal crashes and deaths. Below we will look at the top 10 deadliest stretches and a breakdown of the top five with images.
Interactive Map: Arizona’s Deadliest Roads
The map below is interactive. Pinch or use the mouse wheel to zoom in and hover over each stretch to reveal more information.
The top five (and nine of the top ten) deadliest road segments were found in the Phoenix metro area, four of which were within the city limits of Phoenix. Four of the top 5 sections include at least one freeway interchange along them. Freeway interchanges by nature are dangerous because of merging, which increases the chances for accidents to occur and also lead to an increased traffic volume.
In this section, we provide a bit more context surrounding each of the top 5 deadliest road segments.
Table: The Ten Deadliest Road Segments in Arizona
A Closer Look at the Top Five
The top five (and nine of the top ten) were found in the Phoenix metro area, four of which were within the city limits of Phoenix. In this section, we provide a bit more context surrounding each. Find each stretch and let’s write a little about em.
Number 1: AZ – 101
Fatal Crashes: 41
The deadliest 5-mile stretch of highway in Arizona is between exits 50 & 55A on AZ-101 with a total of 41 crashes and 44 deaths. Located just off exit 50 is Casino Arizona and on the other end at exit 55A are shopping centers, several schools, a community college, a golf course, and a large neighborhood. Additionally, there is an interchange found along this path between AZ-202 and AZ-101.
Number 2: I-10
Fatal Crashes: 39
The second deadliest 5 mile stretch of highway in Arizona can be found on I-10, between exits 143A & 147A. In this section of highway, there have been 39 crashes, and 47 deaths. This stretch is found in the heart of Phoenix and within it there are two major interchanges. One between I-10 and I-17 and another between AZ-202, AZ-51 and I-10. On the exit 143A end of this section Valleywise Health Medical Center Hospital can be found. At the exit 147A end, there are several schools and shopping centers. Because of the dense population in Phoenix coupled with two highly trafficked areas on either side of this deadly stretch of highway, traffic can be heavy, and thus increases the likelyhood of accidents.
Number 3: I-10
Fatal Crashes: 39
The third deadliest highway stretch in Arizona with 39 crashes and 42 deaths can be found between exits 136 & 141 on I-10. On the exit 136 end of this stretch, there are several large stores, a mall, and an Amazon shipping center. On the exit 141 end are several schools and a large residential area. Additionally, there is an interchange between I-10 and AZ-202 along this stretch that can cause an increase in traffic flow.
Number 4: I-17
Fatal Crashes: 36
The fourth deadliest stretch of highway in Arizona can be found between exits 210 and 215B on I-17. Throughout this stretch 36 crashes have occurred, resulting in 44 deaths. This section of highway has an interchange with AZ-101, which increases traffic. On either end of this section are heavily trafficked areas, on the exit 210 side ASU West Campus, a shopping center and several churches can be found. On the exit 215B side are several schools and a large residential area.
Number 5: I-17
Fatal Crashes: 36
The fifth deadliest stretch of highway in Arizona is on I-17 between the exits 203 and 208. This section of highway has had 36 crashes with 36 deaths. This is the only stretch of highway in the top five that does not include a freeway interchange along it. Just off exit 203 is Grand Canyon University, and several grade schools, and off exit 208 is a large shopping center, a sports complex, a park and a warehouse area. Both sides of this stretch of freeway are likely to bring in high volumes of traffic.
Data, Methodology, and Fair Use
Phoenix is the fifth most populated city in the US. The Phoenix area has a population of around 5 million people, packed into a space of 517 square miles. The large population and fairly limited space causes heavy daily traffic, and unfortunately, fatal car accidents.
While fatal car accidents can occur anywhere, the data shows us that there are some segments of highway where deadly accidents are more likely to occur. Nine of the top ten deadliest road sections are located within the greater Phoenix area. Urban areas are more prone to car accidents because of the higher number of motorists on the roads. The top deadliest highway stretches in Arizona tend to connect heavily trafficked areas and usually have a freeway interchange located within it.
Keeping this information in mind, you may want to drive slower, drive sober, and take extra caution when driving on these stretches of highway in Phoenix. These small but significant changes can mean the difference between life and death for you and other drivers. Driving slower and adhering to speed limits will give you more reaction time and much more control when merging or using freeway exit ramps.
This study was conducted using National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data on fatal crashes that occured on highways in Arizona between 2000-2019.
If you would like to republish or report on any of the images, findings or data in this study please link to this page to provide credit.