New service to help identify dangerous rural roads in U.S.


DULUTH, Minn. — About six out of 10 highway deaths occur on roads considered rural, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Now, rural transportation safety experts at the University of Minnesota have launched a national service to help drivers identify the most dangerous portions of upcoming trips.

New service. is a service that immediately identifies the location of crashes through an online, searchable map. The service was launched last summer by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, but it is now flagging the nation’s Top 100 “Hot Zones,” the rural areas that have experienced the most fatalities over the past five years.

The hot zones are presented in a Google Map-based format, where viewers can zoom from a national map showing all 100 zones, down to a photo of each individual section of the road. The newest version of offers several other enhancements over the original version released in 2008.

Five years of records. SafeRoadMaps now allows anyone visiting to enter a zip code, municipality name or street address and immediately see a map or satellite image all of the road fatalities that have occurred in the chosen area over the past five years.

Details about each crash are also available, such as whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt, drinking or speeding.

In addition to rural hot zones, SafeRoadMaps now also identifies urban hot zones. Eighteen states have urban areas in the Top 100.

The 10 states with the most “hot zones” are Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

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