America's deadliest roads survey: I-17 from Phoenix to Flagstaff ranks 4th

A recent survey ranks America's deadliest highways and one of them runs right through the middle of Arizona.

The stretch of Interstate 17 from Phoenix to Flagstaff makes the list.

We've reported on a large number of crashes along that part of the interstate throughout the years.

For some, it's not a surprise that I-17 has been ranked as one of the most dangerous highways.

"Yes, I can tell you that there is an issue with some of our highways because I-17 is a well traveled road that has a lot of things that happen," said Alberto Gutier, Director of Arizona's Office of Highway Safety.

According to a study by software company Teletrac Navman, I-17 is ranked in fourth place. The company uses a death-per-mile rate to rank the highway. From 2016 to 2019, there were 103 fatalities along the 146 mile stretch from Phoenix to Flagstaff.

"Fatalities occur when people don’t put a seat belt on. Imagine if they’re speeding and not wearing a seat belt and distracted and in some cases impaired," said Gutier.

Gutier also says many people are used to driving on a freeway.

"A lot of people from different parts of the country don’t understand we have hills, curbs and a lot of traffic, especially on weekends."

We spoke to some drivers to get their input.

"On the way it’s not a safe shot.. there are a lot of crooks, caverns.. all the way up and down from the Valley."

"The thing is speed is another factor. They need to cut the speed down. 75 is much too fast for the 17."

"I don’t think it’s too much of the speed limit, but a lot of the hills. There are very steep inclines. I think you get a lot of folks here that aren’t from here, so they might not be comfortable driving in this type of environment."

I-17 wasn't the only Arizona highway on the list. Interstate 19 from Nogales to Tucson is ranked ninth.

Top 25 most dangerous highways in the U.S. survey results:

  1. I-4, Tampa, FL - Daytona Beach, FL
  2. I-45, Galveston, TX - Dallas, TX
  3. US-192, Four Corners, FL - Indialantic, FL
  4. I-17, Phoenix, AZ - Flagstaff, AZ
  5. US-92, US-92, St. Petersburg, FL - Daytona Beach, FL
  6. I-12, Baton Rouge, LA - Slidell, LA
  7. I-30, Aledo, TX - North Little Rock, AR
  8. 1-95, Miami, FL - Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing
  9. I-19, Nogales, AZ - Tucson, AZ
  10. 1-85, Montgomery, AL - Petersburg, VA
  11. I-5, San Ysidro, CA - Blaine, WA
  12. 1-10, Santa Monica, CA - Jacksonville, FL
  13. 1-20, Scroggins Draw, TX - Florence, SC
  14. I-35W, Hillsboro, TX - Denton, TX
  15. I-24, Pulleys Mill, IL - East Ridge, TN
  16. I-75, Miami Lakes, FL - Sault Ste. Marie, MI
  17. I-83, Baltimore, MD - Progress, PA
  18. I-26, Kingsport, TN - Charleston, SC
  19. I-35E, Hillsboro, TX - Denton, TX
  20. US-199, Crescent City, CA - Grants Pass, OR
  21. I-65, Mobile, AL - Gary, IN
  22. US-17, Punta Gorda, FL - Winchester, VA
  23. US-11W, Knoxville, TN - Bristol, VA
  24. US-175, Dallas, TX - Jacksonville, FL
  25. I-66, Strasburg, VA - Arlington, VA