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Ohio’s I-75 stretch one of corridor’s deadliest

Firm ranks Toledo 4th for fatal crashes

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I-75 southbound was closed near Bancroft Street on March 12, 2012, after a wrong-way crash that occurred about 3 a.m. The car was traveling north in the southbound lanes when it hit a Penske truck head on.

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A new analysis of five years of traffic data rates I-75 as the fifth-most dangerous highway in the United States, based on traffic fatalities per 100 miles.

Analyzing federal crash data from 2011 through 2015, ValuePenguin, a New York-based consumer research firm, ranked the nation’s long-distance highways and calculated an annual rate of 47.2 traffic deaths per 100 miles for I-75 based on the 844 fatalities reported for that highway’s 1,786 miles during the five-year period.

The firm also stated Ohio had the third-highest death toll among the six states I-75 passes through on its route from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to Miami. Toledo ranked as having the fourth-highest number of fatal crashes among cities along that route, while Cincinnati was third.

Matt Bruning, an Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman in Columbus, said he did not find the report particularly surprising, given the high traffic volumes I-75 has on much of its Ohio route, but pointed to a declining trend for I-75 traffic deaths during the sample period.

“It’s a major corridor for traffic and freight. There are going to be crashes, and some of those crashes are going to be fatal,” he said. “... We don’t like to see any fatalities. We’d like that number to be zero. But we just need people to slow down and not follow [other vehicles] so closely.”

RELATED CONTENT: The 50 Most Dangerous Roads in America via ValuePenguin

Craig Casazza, a ValuePenguin research analyst who wrote the report, said the analysis was intended not “to tell anyone not to take these highways,” but rather to inspire curiosity and inquiry about why they rate relatively high for traveler deaths.

The report used fatalities per 100 miles, Mr. Casazza said, because uniform traffic volume data is not readily available.

Bad weather, meanwhile, was deemed a factor in the high ratings for two of the poorly ranked highways that touch Ohio. I-75’s score for fatal crashes associated with wet or snowy pavement was third worst, behind only I-95 and I-85, which links Petersburg, Va., with Montgomery, Ala., via Atlanta. I-77, which goes south from Cleveland to Columbia, S.C., was fifth-worst for weather-related fatal crashes.

Other major long-distance highways that pass through Ohio or Michigan appearing in the Top 50 for “most dangerous” include:

● I-77, which had an overall ranking of 17th and a fatality rate of 28.4 per 100 miles during the sample period;

● Interstates 80 and 90, which cross northwest Ohio jointly as the Ohio Turnpike and rated 27th and 44th, respectively;

● I-94, which runs from Port Huron, Mich., to central Montana and placed 30th, and

● U.S. 50, U.S. 40, U.S. 62, U.S. 6, U.S. 30, U.S. 20, and U.S. 12, which were rated 36th, 41st, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, and 50th, respectively.

The survey report distributed Wednesday did not provide state-by-state breakdowns for all highways, and that information was not immediately available from ValuePenguin.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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