Each morning after breakfast, I leave my apartment in Fresno, drive west on Shaw Avenue, and get on the northbound on-ramp for State Route 99 to go to work. However mundane, my daily commute is a game of Russian roulette, according to a recent report.
In the report released by consumer research company ValuePenguin, that freeway is the deadliest road in America, with the most deadly crashes per 100 miles — 62.3 of them. Upon learning of this, it occurred to me that I have had my fair share of near misses. Most recently, my car went into a full spin to avoid a tire on the road. With some luck and skill, I was able to regain control of my Toyota, and made it to work uninjured.
This should be a wakeup call for the people of Madera and the officials in Sacramento. The road we take daily doesn’t have to be the deadliest.
There are only two lanes for the stretch of freeway that runs through Madera. Traffic comes to a grinding halt if an accident does happen, or someone is forced to the side of the road. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve had to hit the brakes because traffic had suddenly choked up. A third lane would open up more traffic and make it more fluid. Our portion of the road, however, has been seemingly neglected by our state’s budget.
State Route 99 is also listed as the darkest road in the country. In fact, that same study showed that nearly 40 percent of these accidents occur in the dark. A few light posts along the highway could save many lives.
State Route 99 also has the second-highest number of DUI-related fatalities in the country. It should go without saying that this statistic rests not on our infrastructure, but on us, the drivers.
That we have the deadliest road in America running through Madera is not a point of pride. It’s a disgrace to us, and to the people of California, and it’s time we all work to make our highways safer.