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In 2015 and 2016, nearly 2,600 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions in Kansas and Missouri.
A fatal crash can occur anywhere at any time. At Wendt Law, our Kansas City car accident attorneys 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 personal injury lawyers in Kansas City 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.