California’s Deadliest Roads: Analysis Explores Roadways With The Most Fatalities, Including Kern County’s, And Common Factors Associated With Crashes

April 27, 2023 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

California’s Deadliest Roads: Analysis Explores Roadways With The Most Fatalities, Including Kern County’s, And Common Factors Associated With Crashes

Out of nearly 4,500 roads in California making up 400,000 miles, a few stand out as the deadliest, including one roadway going through Kern County.

A study looking at 10,370 fatal car accidents recorded in California from the latest three-year stretch examined how factors like drunk driving, speeding distracted driving and time of year contributed to fatal crashes in the state, and summarized data for each county in California, including the deadliest road in each county. It found that the deadliest stretch of road in California was Interstate 15 between exit 138 and exit 129 in Hesperia, a city 35 miles north of downtown San Bernardino, according to personal finance company MoneyGeek.

The most dangerous roadway in Kern County was also Interstate 5. In total, Kern County experienced 439 fatal accidents in the three-year time frame, 130 of those were DUI-related, 23 were distracted driving related, and 110 were caused by speeding, according to the study.

Other findings of the study included:

  • 27% of fatal accidents were related to drunk driving. In contrast, crashes on the deadliest road accounted for .1% of accidents in the state.
  • Speeding contributed to 28% of accidents. That’s slightly higher than the percentage of accidents that involved drunk driving.
  • Distracted driving was involved in 4% of accidents. Compared to other states, California has low rates of distracted driving. A study conducted by MoneyGeek ranked them better than 92% of states.
  • The month of November had the most fatal accidents. High rates of crashes during this time are likely due to Halloween and Thanksgiving-related travel. September and October had the second and third highest numbers of fatal accidents.
  • Los Angeles County had more deadly accidents than any other county. Speeding and drunk driving contributed most to fatal accidents there.
  • The Los Angeles metro area has over double the population of the San Francisco metro area, but fewer of the state’s roads with the most deadliest accidents. The San Francisco metro area was home to the second and third-most dangerous road stretches in the state.

MoneyGeek analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS (fatal accident reporting system) database. Impaired driving contributed to 2,802 of the 10,370 deadly crashes in the state, or about 27%. Speeding caused nearly 3,000 deadly accidents in California, or about 29%. Distracted driving led to nearly 1,000 deadly crashes, or about 9%.

“This means that about 65% of fatalities in California are due to impaired driving, distracted driving, or speeding, crashes which could have been prevented in the first place by driving responsibly,” said Matt Clark, managing partner and attorney at Chain | Cohn | Clark. “The power to save lives is in our hands. Let’s use this critical information to drive change and create a safer future for all Californians.”


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the Bakersfield car crash attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at