Study Says this Kentucky Highway is the most Dangerous in the State

Kentucky is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, bourbon, and horse racing, yet it harbors a darker aspect — its perilous roadways. A recent study by the Institute for Corruption Studies at Illinois State University has unveiled a disturbing revelation: Kentucky boasts some of the most hazardous and lethal roads in the country, with one particular highway standing out as the most treacherous.

The Most Dangerous Highway in Kentucky: US-25

The research, gauging public corruption convictions per capita from 1976 to 2023, indicates that Kentucky holds the highest corruption rate, followed by New Jersey, Illinois, Alabama, and Louisiana. Additionally, it sheds light on a startling statistic: the deadliest stretch of road in Kentucky, potentially in the entire nation.

US-25, a major north-south route traversing the state, emerges as the most perilous highway in Kentucky. Specifically, the segment of US-25 between State Road Champ and Fariston Road in London, a small city in southeastern Kentucky, takes the grim title. From 2017 to 2019, this 4.7-mile stretch witnessed nine fatal accidents, resulting in nine deaths, yielding a crash rate of 1.9 per mile—significantly higher than the national average of 0.06 per mile.

Factors Contributing to Kentucky’s Highway Corruption

Several factors contribute to the heightened corruption on Kentucky’s highways, as elucidated by the study’s author, economist Oguzhan Dincer:

  1. Geography: Kentucky’s diverse landscape, encompassing urban, rural, and tribal areas, provides numerous opportunities for corruption as different groups vie for limited resources and political influence.
  2. Culture: A historical backdrop of corruption, dating back to the 19th century with the “Minneapolis Ring,” coupled with media depictions in movies like Fargo and TV shows like Breaking Bad, has entrenched a culture of corruption.
  3. Voter Participation: While Kentucky boasts high voter turnout, indicating civic engagement, it also elevates the risk of electing unscrupulous leaders and amplifies the influence of special interests.

These factors, coupled with a lack of transparency, education, and enforcement, contribute to poorly maintained, designed, and regulated highways, resulting in increased accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The study estimates an annual cost of $1.2 billion to Kentucky due to highway corruption.

Strategies to Enhance Highway Safety in Kentucky

Addressing Kentucky’s persistent highway corruption requires comprehensive solutions:

  1. Transparency: Implement and enforce stringent laws and regulations ensuring transparency in highway affairs. Facilitate public access to information, encourage whistleblowing, and enhance reporting mechanisms.
  2. Education: Invest in education and awareness programs to enlighten both citizens and public officials about the causes and consequences of highway corruption. Promote ethical values and cultivate a culture of integrity.
  3. Enforcement: Strengthen institutions responsible for detecting and prosecuting highway corruption. Impose severe penalties for offenses and ensure accountability across the board.


US-25, Kentucky’s most perilous highway, serves as a symptom of a broader issue — highway corruption. This predicament jeopardizes the safety of drivers and passengers while compromising the state’s infrastructure and governance. It is imperative for Kentucky to take decisive action, fostering transparency, education, and enforcement to make its roads safer and cleaner for all.

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