The official name, Pearblossom Highway, promises sweet scents and scenic vistas. But ask a Southern California native what CA 138 from Crestline to Palmdale is called, and you’ll get a starkly different moniker. Dubbed “Blood Alley” back when it averaged 10 highway fatalities per year, CA 138 has long been considered one of America’s deadliest roads.
Decades ago, CA 138 was inherently dangerous because it was a twisting two-lane highway with narrow shoulders and no divider between opposing lanes of traffic. The route was heavily trafficked as a direct route from the San Fernando Valley to Las Vegas. Though the accident rates were not necessarily higher than other Southern California highways, the rate of fatal and serious injury accidents was alarming.
Work to widen the 105-mile stretch to four lanes began toward the close of the last century, but in 2000, the Los Angeles Times lamented a delay in the project that would leave intact the most dangerous stretch of road, east of the San Bernardino County line. The Times article cited 56 deaths and 875 injuries, 410 of which were considered serious, on CA 138 over a five-year period. The paper estimated that a motorist’s chance of being involved in a fatal or injury accident was 34 percent higher on the San Bernardino County segment of CA 138 than on the Los Angeles County side.
A noteworthy accident occurred in 2003, when an unlicensed driver in a pickup truck left the roadway and plunged into the California Aqueduct, killing four passengers and rendering the driver quadriplegic. The state of California paid a $10 million settlement to the victims’ family. If red tape had not delayed highway improvements, perhaps that truck accident never would have happened.
If you are injured in an accident on a notoriously unsafe road, the state, county or federal government may be liable for your losses. At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, a concerned car accident attorney can evaluate your case for free. Call 800-333-0000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at one of our locations in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County, Bakersfield, Fresno, Phoenix, or Tucson.