Deadly highway crashes on the rise: 'We are seeing unprecedented numbers'

SEATTLE -- Multiple crashes on major highways across the Puget Sound left commuters with quite the traffic mess to deal with on Friday morning.

If you drove into work on Friday morning, it’s likely you got caught in it too.

An overturned semi-truck on I-5 North near The West Seattle Bridge left traffic stalled there for hours. There were also two other crashes blocking southbound lanes of I-5 Friday morning.

In Auburn, a mail truck fire caused major backups along SR-167, and in Kitsap County a driver lost control on a wet road and caused a rollover crash on SR-3.

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt in any of those crashes, but data from The Washington Department of Transportation shows that we are seeing double the amount of deadly highway crashes per month involving semi-trucks than in previous years.

The numbers also show that 2019 is on track to become the deadliest year on record when it comes to highway crashes involving large trucks or semis.

“This year particularly we are seeing some unprecedented numbers,” said Q13’s traffic expert Adam Gehrke. “Last year, for example, there were only 36 fatal accidents for the entire year. Now, we are only in August and we have 42. We are well on pace for blowing those numbers out of the water.”


2014 - 3,492 total collisions, 26 fatal

2015 - 3,728 total collisions, 25 fatal

2016 - 3,869 total collisions, 36 fatal

2017 - 4,162 total collisions, 53 fatal

2018 - 3,981 total collisions, 36 fatal

2019 (so far) - 1,928 total collisions, 42 fatal

There are several factors that contribute to the growing numbers, like speeding and distracted driving.