How Dangerous is I-20?

Published: Jun. 25, 2002 at 9:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2002 at 3:21 AM CDT
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Monday's wreck is the third fatal bus accident on I-20 in Texas since May. These tragedies have focussed a lot of attention on the Interstate. But, D.P.S. says I-20 isn't any more dangerous than other roads in East Texas.

Trooper Chris Baggett knows every foot of Interstate 20 in Gregg County. He understands what makes this road different from any other blacktop around. "Lots of traffic. I've worked in Van Zandt County, Gregg County, Harrison County. There's a lot of Dallas to Shreveport traffic. There's a lot of Tyler to Longview traffic."

I-20 has had several high profile wrecks over the last few years. But Baggett says it's not more than the freeway's fair share. "We have problems elsewhere that are probably just as bad."

There acturally have only been a small number of accidents on I-20 in East Texas so far this year. But it's the types of vehicles involved and the speed of the traffic that brings more attention to wrecks here than wrecks on smaller county roads.

"Tour busses, we don't see many of those on the farm to market roads; the back county roads. They're gong to be out here traveling Interstate Highways and if they have a wreck with a higher number of passengers there's a higher percentage of an injury or a fatality."

Because of the commercial vehicles, and the close spacing between most of the cars, a single wreck can have multiple injuries, and bigger headlines. But, per mile, I-20 isn't more dangerous, just more notorious.