Here’s what you need to know…
- Traffic accidents are causing thousands of injuries and deaths daily
- Every four years, the ASCE reports on our major infrastructure systems
- Each state’s roads and bridges are given a detailed grade in this report
- America as a whole only received a D+ or “Poor-At Risk” for its roads
- Deadly U.S. roads are costing motorists an average of $67 billion annually
- New Jersey has the most dangerous roads with 35 percent in poor condition
Traffic accidents cause over one million deaths each year. Break that down to discover the devastating reality that over three thousand people are dying daily on the road. What’s causing all these crashes? Driver error? Dangerous roads? Insufficient lighting? Unclear signs and road markings?
No Honor Roll for US!
The ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) has helped pinpoint the problems with their analysis and detailed grading of our nation’s roadways. Overall, U.S. roads received an embarrassing D+ or “Poor-At Risk.” The ASCE found:
“32 percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing U.S. motorists who are traveling on deficient pavement $67 billion a year, ($324 per motorist!) in additional repairs and operating costs.”
Clearly, U.S. roads have serious improvements to be made, but are the problems nation-wide or just in certain areas? Fortunately, the ASCE research dug even deeper to provide a thorough grade for each state. These state specific, detailed reports show how dangerous and costly poorly maintained roads truly are.
10 States with the Most Dangerous Roads
Using the statistics in ASCE’s 2013 “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” rankings were determined by a combination of the letter grade given, the percentage of major roads in poor condition, the percentage of bridges with structural deficiencies, and the annual costs to motorist these deteriorating roadways are causing.
#10 – Texas
Coming in at the best of the worst is Texas with a grade of “D.” The ASCE determined 8 percent of Texas’ major roads and 2 percent of its bridges to be in poor condition. These insufficiently maintained roadways are costing $5.7 billion total or $373 per motorist each year in repairs due to wear and tear and accidents.
Texas priorities have drastically changed considering in 5 years its highway spending went from 17th in the nation to 43rd.
#9 – Ohio
Coming in 9th is a state with 15 percent of its major roads and 8 percent of its bridges in poor condition, Ohio. With a grade of “D,” This state’s roads are costing motorists $3.3 billion, about $413 per driver, each year.
And to make matters worse, Ohio is at least $10 billion short in its much-needed highway improvement budget.
#8 – Illinois
Scoring a “D+,” Illinois was determined to have 15 percent of its major roads in poor condition and 8.5 percent of its bridges with structural deficiencies. Illinois’ dangerous roads are costing motorists $3.7 billion in total, which is about $449 per motorist annually.
ASCE’s report reads:
“Illinois’ poor roads will continue to hinder the State’s ability to spur economic growth and build sustainable, efficient communities.”
#7 – Pennsylvania
Costing motorists $3.7 billion, $424 per driver each year, are Pennsylvania’s poorly maintained roads that got a “D-” and make up 15 percent of all its major roadways. Out of all the states in our top 10, Pennsylvania has the most bridges determined to be structurally deficient by the ASCE, an alarming 23 percent.
“Simply keeping the road system from degrading, let alone improving it, requires more funding than is currently available.” -ASCE
Hopefully Pennsylvania can save up for these critical repairs.
#6 – Oklahoma
With 18 percent of both its major roads and total bridges in poor condition, Oklahoma got a grade of “D” and ranks 6th in this countdown.
These dangerous roads are costing its motorists $1.5 billion, which works out to be $626 per motorist annually, and those costs are in addition to the $1.2 billion citizens pay each year in road taxes and fees.
#5 – Louisiana
Ranked 5th for the states with the most dangerous roads is Louisiana. With 19 percent of its major roads found to be in poor condition and 14 percent of its bridges to have structural deficiencies, Louisiana’s roadways got a grade of “D.”
The condition of the roads in this state costs motorists $1.3 billion, or $464 per driver each year.
According to the ASCE,
“Unless the federal and state branches of government provide for a significant, long-term increase in funding for roads, the current model practically guarantees that congestion, safety, and road conditions in Louisiana will only get worse over the next several years.”
#4 – Washington
Earning a slightly better, still unimpressive grade of “D+” for its roadways, is Washington state that was found to have 22 percent of its major roads and 4 percent of its bridges to be in poor condition.
In regards to Washington state’s public roadways, the ASCE explains:
“The bulk of this system was built more than fifty years ago and has lasted for longer and carries more traffic than it was originally designed for.”
These dangerous roads cost its citizens $2.8 billion, $537 per motorist, each year.
#3 – Michigan
Ranking in the top three for states with the most dangerous roads is Michigan with a grade of “D.” 22 percent of its major roadways and 11.7 percent of its bridges were found to be in poor condition. The neglected roads in this state are annually costing each motorist $539–a total of $3.8 billion.
The ASCE report concluded:
“Without increased funding, Michigan’s transportation network will continue to deteriorate and fail to meet demand.”
#2 – New York
Coming in 2nd place for the state with our nation’s most dangerous roads is New York with a grade of “D.” 23 percent of the major roads and 11.9 percent of the bridges in this state were determined to be in poor condition, costing its motorists $5.7 billion, $505 per driver, each year.
The improvement needs are immense:
“By 2030, New York needs to spend about $40 billion on roads to keep up with road conditions.”
#1 – New Jersey
Sharing a border with the runner up is the state with the most dangerous roads in the U.S., New Jersey. A shocking 35 percent of its major roads and 9.5 percent of its bridges are in poor condition, earning a grade of “D+.”
It might be a small state, but its crumbling roads have no small bill—costing its citizens $3.6 billion, a staggering $605 per motorist, annually.
As the report states,
“New Jersey’s road system is a vital conduit for the Northeast and beyond, yet it relies on the deteriorating physical condition of the roadway to support it.”
After seeing the above grades, one might assume that the ASCE just considers the majority of roads to be “in poor condition,” but many states received good reports.
For example, Utah’s roadways earned a “B+,” and Wyoming was only found to have two percent of its major roads in poor condition.
The ASCE’s grades prove to be fair and consistent. The 10 states determined to have the most dangerous roads have a lot of work to do in order to improve public safety.
Not only will this protect their citizens from unnecessary injuries and deaths, but it will greatly decrease the billions being spent on vehicle maintenance, auto insurance, and annual repairs.
“Our unity as a nation is sustained by free communicationof thought and by easy transportation of people and goods.” – President Eisenhower
With such high percentages of poorly maintained roads, transportation is far from easy. The dangerous roads in these states are not only costing lives and money, they are compromising our nation’s unity.