The Most Dangerous Roads During MLK Holiday Weekend

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MLK weekend is around the corner and millions of Americans will be hitting the road to enjoy the long weekend. Unfortunately, most holidays are also associated with an increase in car accidents.

To help drivers understand the increased driving risk, researchers at analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found the following:

#1: Fatalities spiked in 2021 to levels not seen since 2006

While fatalities had declined from 2006-2011 and then remained relatively flat, 2021 had the most driving fatalities since 2006.

#2: Speeding is a major issue on MLK weekend

While driving under the influence is the biggest cause of fatalities during the year, speeding is the biggest cause of fatalities on MLK weekend.

#3: Two of the most dangerous roads are in counties with populations under 100k

Surprisingly, the largest metro areas don't always have the most driving fatalities over MLK weekend. In fact, two of the most dangerous roadways by total fatalities are located in counties with populations under 100k.

From 2001 to 2021, the following roadways had the most fatalities during MLK weekend:

  1. US-395 in San Bernardino County, California: 11 (population 2.19M)
  2. I-10 in Riverside County, California: 10 (population 2.45M)
  3. SR-50 in Orange County, Florida: 9 (population 1.43M)
  4. US-17 in Volusia County, Florida: 8 (population 566k)
  5. US-1 in Miami-Dade County, Florida: 8 (population 2.67M)
  6. I-45 in Harris County, Texas: 8 (population 4.74M)
  7. I-40 in Washita County, Oklahoma: 7 (population 11k)
  8. US-1 in Monroe, Florida: 7 (population 82k)
  9. US-27 in Polk, Florida: 7 (population 755k)
  10. I-95 in Fairfield, Connecticut: 7 (population 959k)

#4: Mississippi has the most fatalities per capita by a wide margin

Mississippi has more than 3.5x the driving fatalities per capita than the median state.

Full Data


Fatal accident statistics were sourced from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and population data from the US Census Bureau. The MLK weekend holiday period was defined as the Friday through Monday of MLK Jr Day. Unless otherwise noted, all fatality statistics are the sum of total fatalities from 2001 to 2021 (the most recent data available).

About the Author
Kyle Fretwell of
Kyle Fretwell has worked as a researcher and data journalist for over a decade. His work has appeared in publications such as Bloomberg, Fox Business, MSN, USA Today, CNBC, and the Houston Chronicle.

He now manages's content team and is a regular fixture at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

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