Sunday May 15, 2005
7:00 PM 1.0 DATELINE NBC
DANGEROUS ROADS: From speeding to traffic congestion, Dateline takes an in-depth look at the nation's roadways. This hour-long report will be broken down into 5-parts including: Dangerous Roads, Cars v. Pedestrians, Speeding Roads, Drunk Driving, and Traffic Congestion. Below you will find additional information on each of these five topics: DANGEROUS ROADS Highway safety researchers say that the most dangerous type of driving for motorists is on two-lane, undivided roads. These types of roads -- common in rural areas-- tend to suffer the highest numbers of fatal accidents per mile driven. The danger is compounded when suburbs expand-- and suddenly these "rural" two-lanes are carrying more traffic, at higher speeds, than they were ever designed for. Dateline has researched the five most recent years of federal crash data, and identified some of the most dangerous roads in this dangerous category. We will visit the roads, talk to accident victims, and hear from experts about how these roads can be improved. We'll also revisit roads from our last dangerous roads survey to see if they've been made safer. CARS V. PEDESTRIANS This includes analysis of FARS (the federal government's fatal accident database) to identify roads that had high numbers of pedestrian fatalities. Dateline is NOT calling them "the worst," or "most dangerous," because the methodology does not allow them to be that definitive, but they are among the most dangerous roads in the country for pedestrians. The roads being featured in the piece are: -US-19, Florida (runs along the Gulf coast north of Tampa) -I-30, Dallas -Indian School Road, Phoenix -Queens Boulevard, NYC -Foothill Boulevard (Route 66) in and around Fontana,CA SPEEDING ROADS It's the old saying: speed kills. Thousands of deaths a year are caused by the simple act of driving too fast. Dateline has sifted through federal crash data and identified roads across the country with the highest numbers of speeding-related fatalities. Some are interstate highways, some are city streets. We'll see how road design and driver behavior can both lead to dangerous speeds. And we'll talk to police and traffic engineers about how to slow people down-- and maybe save their lives. DRUNK DRIVING It's a life or death decision: you've had a few drinks-- do you get behind the wheel? Thousands of people each year make the fatally wrong decision. Nearly 40% of all traffic fatalities in the United States are alcohol related. Dateline reviewed five years of federal crash data and found roads with some of the worst drunk driving crashes in the country. We'll visit those roads and talk to drivers who've had a few too many. Josh Mankiewicz will also tell the story of a personal friend whose life was changed forever by a drunk driver. TRAFFIC CONGESTION It may not kill you, but it sucks your life away bit by bit-- traffic congestion. Which city has it worst? What causes it? What can be done about it? Dateline crawls through some of the most jammed-up roads in the country, and talks to experts about everybody's daily traffic headache. What we learned may surprise you.