Study: Crashes more than twice as common on I-83 as other Maryland highways

Interstate 83 experiences more than twice as many car crashes as all other comparable Maryland highways, with the average driver exceeding posted speed limits along the stretch of the interstate that runs through the city, according to a new study by the Baltimore Department of Transportation.

According to data compiled by the department, there are 37.8 crashes per year per mile on the 6.7-mile stretch of I-83 in the city. On all other Maryland interstates, the rate is 15.7. The department has previously said about 250 to 300 crashes occur on the highway per year.

More than 125,000 vehicles take the expressway between Northern Parkway and North Avenue per day, and 67,342 continue on to I-83’s terminus at Fayette Street in downtown.

The posted speed limit on I-83 is below the 55 mph or 65 mph on many other highways, all the way down to 40 mph in some places, but motorists routinely exceed those limits by roughly 5 mph, with 15 percent of vehicles going as fast as 60 mph in a 40 or 50 mph zone.

While this information dates back to 2010 and 2011, more recent field observations conducted as part of the study confirmed that “many vehicles are exceeding the posted speed limit throughout the corridor.”

A majority of incidents, 41 percent, on the road only involve a single vehicle, compared to 26 percent being rear-end crashes and 19 percent being side-swipe collisions. Forty-two percent of wrecks happen when the pavement is wet or snow-covered.