When driving on Florida roads, there are times when you can’t help but wonder where some people learned to drive. Whether it’s someone bobbing and weaving through traffic or a driver who is riding your rear because you dared to drive the speed limit, we’ve all been there before. While many Floridians are quick to blame erratic driving conditions on tourists and “snowbirds”, the problem may be a little closer to home. A recent study found that Florida drivers are ranked among the worst in the country.
Though the driving situation in Florida is ordinary for people who have lived in the state for years, the average Florida driver looks different when compared to the drivers in other states. According to the most recent version of a study from SmartAsset, Florida drivers were ranked among the worst in a national study.
The SmartAsset study was created by aggregating driver and traffic data from across the country. Using the compiled data, the researchers gave each state a ranking based on a variety of factors. These factors included the percentage of drivers with insurance; the number of DUIs per driver; the average number of fatalities per miles driven; and how often people in the state used Google to look up the implications of speeding tickets.
According to the SmartAsset report, Florida has gone from being the worst state in 2017 to being ranked eighth. While it’s better than last year, there are many causes for concern among Florida drivers. For example, the state has the lowest rate of insured drivers in the country at 73 percent. This means drivers have a one in four chance of getting into a wreck with an uninsured motorist.
Another cause for concern is Florida’s relatively high fatality rates. According to the SmartAsset analysis, Florida comes in behind Alabama with 1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles driven in 2018. For those who were wondering, South Carolina, topped the list for deaths per 100 million miles driven at 1.86. It should also be noted that the fatality rate has fallen by a third since 1994 when Florida had 2.2 fatalities per 100 million miles driven.
While Florida’s poor ranking is understandable given the metrics used, things may not be as bad as they seem at first. Florida is a huge state with communities of various size. Many of the concerns cited in the report are bigger issues in population centers like Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. These locations are known for the traffic and driver issues, but they don’t represent Florida as a whole. According to statistics from the IIHS, Florida’s crash fatality is lower than many states, despite the fact that it’s the state with the third highest number of miles driven per year.
Florida also has a fairly low rate of DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers. There were 2.17 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in Florida, which is almost the lowest rate of the 10 states with the worst-rated drivers. Only Alabama was lower at 1.99 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers. Though Florida’s rate isn’t nearly as low as the 0.51 seen in Delaware (the fifth best state for drivers in America), Florida has a lower rate than two-thirds of the country.
The SmartAsset report also noted that many southern states are struggling with issues such as DUIs, traffic fatalities and uninsured drivers. As the report’s authors stated, “Five of the top 10 states with the worst drivers are in the South. These states tended to have the highest fatality rates and lowest auto insurance rates.”
According to government records, the number of fatal crashes in Florida has gone down in recent years, but the rate and number of traffic accidents across the state are still increasing. If you or someone you know is involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, contact the Law Office of Steve Watrel, P.A. to get legal advice on the best way to handle the situation.