The Deadliest Highway Stretches in Missouri and Kansas [Interactive Map]
In 2015 and 2016, nearly 2,600 people were killed in car accidents in Kansas and Missouri.
A fatal crash can occur anywhere at any time. At Wendt Law, we wanted to find out if there were stretches of highway where they occur more frequently.
So, with the help of data visualization firm 1Point21 Interactive, our legal team analyzed two years of crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to map out the deadliest highway segments in Missouri and Kansas.
From 2015-2016, we identified 40 segments of state and federal highways where fatal crashes occur at a high rate. These stretches totaled approximately 260 miles of highway that accounted for 162 fatal collisions and 182 fatalities. These segments were then ranked by density, measured by fatal crashes per mile.
The 40 Deadliest Highway Stretches in Missouri and Kansas
Note: Stretches are ranked by fatal crash rate per mile. Due to a data anomaly, the Page Avenue stretch appears as ‘State Rd’ on our map.
Missouri Had the Majority of Deadly Segments In Our Study
Missouri is the location of 34 of 40 segments in our analysis – accounting for approximately 89 percent of both crashes and fatalities in our data.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of this data is concentrated in two counties: St. Louis and Jackson. This is not a surprise: Missouri’s two highest populated cities (St. Louis and Kansas City) reside in these counties.
Note: Though we recognize that the city of St. Louis is an independent city, for the sake of this study we have listed both highway stretches found in the city with St. Louis County to consider the St. Louis metropolitan area as a singular region.
The St. Louis Region Has the Most Crashes & Fatalities
Together, St. Louis County and the city proper accounted for 44 crashes and 46 fatalities across 8 distinct highway segments – the most crashes and fatalities of any other county in our study.
The highest-ranking segment was a stretch of Page Avenue in the city of Wellston. Although it had a modest 3 crashes and 3 fatalities, these occurred in a stretch of highway only 0.53 miles long – resulting in a density of 5.59 fatal crashes per mile.
In terms of quantity, a segment of Interstate 270 in North St. Louis County had the highest number of crashes and fatalities with 9 each. However, this occurred across 10.4 miles of highway for a density of 0.86 fatal crashes per mile.
Other notable segments include:
A 3.81-mile stretch of Interstate 70 with 8 crashes leading to 9 fatalities – 2nd in fatalities/mile in the St. Louis metro region.
A 1.89-mile section of State Highway 141 with 3 crashes and 3 fatalities.
A 3.92-mile segment of State Highway 115 with 6 crashes and 6 fatalities.
Although the densities for most of these are relatively low, we firmly believe so many fatalities on St. Louis’ highways is a serious cause for concern.
The Deadliest Highway Segment is in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area
Home to Kansas City, Jackson County accounted for 22 collisions and 23 fatalities across 5 segments. Of these, a segment of US Highway 24 in east Independence, MO is the deadliest length of highway in our analysis.
Although it accounted for only 3 crashes and 3 fatalities, it did so in a stretch that spanned just 0.16 miles for a total density of 19.1 fatal crashes per mile. Regardless of quantity, multiple fatal crashes in less than a quarter of a mile of highway merits immediate investigation.
Other notable sections in this region include:
A 7.8-mile stretch of US Highway 71 in south Kansas City accounting for 8 crashes and 9 total fatalities.
A 4.59-mile section of Interstate 435 near the Blue Summit neighborhood accounting for 5 crashes and fatalities.
Kansas Has Less Highway Segments That Are Equally Deadly
Although the state of Kansas has just 6 notable highway segments highlighted in our study, they are arguably just as deadly and concerning as those in Missouri. Notable segments include:
A stretch of Interstate 70 (also known as the Kansas Turnpike) east of Lawrence that accounted for 3 crashes and 3 fatalities in just 0.69 miles of highway. This was the deadliest highway section in Kansas in our study, with a density of 4.36 fatal crashes per mile.
A 0.85-mile section of US Highway 24 between Topeka and Kansas accumulated 3 crashes and 6 fatalities – the most fatalities of any of the Kansas segments in our study.
Interestingly, Topeka was the site of more deadly segments than any other major city in Kansas. With 3 segments in its general vicinity, it had more than Kansas City (1) and Wichita (0) – both of which are considerably higher in population.