Chautauqua County in New York is home to one of the country’s most dangerous roads: Route 60. The two-lane highway spans 12 miles from Jamestown to Dunkirk. It’s widely considered a dangerous stretch of road. Over the last 50 years, more than 80 people have been killed in traffic accidents on Route 60.

What makes it so deadly?

Theories abound as to why Route 60 is so dangerous. The traffic volume is undoubtedly a contributing factor. With nearly 7,000 vehicles per day, it’s among the highest-trafficked roads in Chautauqua County.

Other factors include:

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Lack of passing lanes
  • Challenging intersections

Vehicles also tend to speed. According to one source, only an estimated 30 percent of vehicles on Route 60 drive under the speed limit (55 mph in most places).

Dangerous road design

With its many hazards, Route 60 is arguably an example of dangerous road design. This aspect of personal injury law occasionally surfaces in car accident cases. Whenever dangers stemming from the road itself contribute to an accident, victims may have grounds for pursuing compensation from the government agency responsible for the roadway (in the case of Route 60, Chautauqua County). However, the success of such a claim is highly fact-specific, and it would depend on the circumstances of the accident.

Will the new design help?

Construction is underway to widen portions of the road and add passing lanes along busy turns. The improvements will reduce the risk of crashes from drivers passing in the oncoming lane.

The true test will come this winter, when the road becomes even more treacherous. Stay safe by avoiding passing, speeding and distractions.