Florida’s Most Dangerous Cities for Car Accidents
You can use several different measurements to determine Florida’s most dangerous cities for car accidents. You can tell where you will most likely get into a crash in Florida thanks to car accident statistics. Fatality rates can tell you about the severity of those crashes.
Car accidents can result from several possible causes. Road design and speed limits can cause traffic accidents, even when drivers exercise due care. Driver behavior such as distracted driving and congestion can also result in a car, motorcycle, pedestrian, or bicycle accident.
Below are some of Florida’s most dangerous cities for car accidents and how you can navigate them. You’ll see that many of Florida’s most dangerous roads, such as I-95, run through or near Oakland Park. Likewise, you’ll notice that Oakland Park is right in the middle of two of Florida’s most dangerous cities for motor vehicle accidents: Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Florida has about 400,000 traffic accidents every year. This number includes about 6,300 bicycle accidents, 8,600 motorcycle accidents, and 9,500 pedestrian accidents.
These accidents injure over 160,000 people and kill over 3,600 people every year. About 180 cyclists, 570 motorcyclists, and 820 pedestrians die on Florida’s roads annually.
These numbers cover the entire state. You can evaluate which cities have the most dangerous streets in a few ways:
You can use total accidents to compare Florida’s most dangerous cities. By this measure, Miami is Florida’s most dangerous city for car accidents. Miami had 36,903 car accidents in 2021. These accidents caused 339 serious injuries and 117 deaths.
Although it has almost double the population, Jacksonville comes in a close second to Miami. Jacksonville had 31,098 car accidents in 2021. These accidents resulted in 369 injuries and 99 fatalities.
Florida’s third-most-populous city, Tampa, also had the third-most car accidents in 2021. Tampa police investigated 16,989 car accidents that injured 227 people and killed 79 people.
As you might expect, Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa had the most traffic fatalities in 2021. Following close behind were Orlando and St. Petersburg. Orlando had 50 fatalities in 2021, while St. Petersburg had 40 traffic deaths.
To eliminate the influence of population on traffic accident statistics, road safety experts use a number called an “accident rate” to compare different areas. This number represents the number of accidents per 100,000 residents. This tells you the likelihood of getting into an accident in that location.
Miami has an extraordinarily high accident rate. The city sees 8,345 traffic accidents per 100,000 residents. This means that you have about an 8.3% chance of getting into a traffic accident in Miami during an average year.
An unexpected town takes second place. Lake City has 6,796 traffic accidents per 100,000 residents. Small towns like Lake City sometimes produce high accident rates in unusually dangerous years. But Lake City consistently produces between 700 and 800 traffic accidents every year for its 12,000 residents.
Fort Lauderdale has the third-highest accident rate in Florida. Although it is only the tenth most populous city in Florida, it sees 5,648 traffic accidents per 100,000 residents.
Hialeah, Orlando, and Tampa see about 4,500 traffic accidents per 100,000 residents. West Palm Beach has about 4,000 traffic accidents per 100,000 residents. These mid-sized cities in Florida have a lot of congestion, a lot of tourists, and major interstates running through them. These factors add up to make their roads and highways exceptionally dangerous.
Fatality rate can tell you the severity of crashes in an area. The fatality rate normalizes traffic fatalities by the number of residents. This allows you to compare geographic areas with different population sizes.
For example, the U.S. has a traffic fatality rate of 11.0 deaths per 100,000 residents. Florida has a traffic fatality rate of 14.8 deaths per 100,000 residents, about 28% higher than the rest of the U.S.
Once again, Miami has the highest fatality rate. At 22.4 deaths per 100,000 residents, Miami’s fatality rate is more than double the national average.
Tampa sits in a close second place to Miami. In 2021, Tampa had 20.5 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents.
Orlando has 16.3 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents. This places Orlando in third for traffic fatalities.
St. Petersburg and Fort Lauderdale have fatality rates above 15 deaths per 100,000 residents. Lake City, with its extraordinarily high traffic accident rate, also has an extraordinarily low traffic fatality rate at 8.1 deaths per 100,000. This means that most car accidents in Lake City only produce injuries and property damage.
Yet another way to rank Florida’s cities for road safety is by looking at their most dangerous roads.
Lake City ranks high on this scale because of I-75. I-75 has a reputation for speeding motorists because of its wide, flat, straight road. Until you hit Tampa, you could drive I-75 without hitting any significant traffic congestion. But as Lake City’s high accident rate shows, traffic accidents can happen even without traffic jams.
Miami also has a major highway that accounts for many of its traffic accidents. Accidents in Miami tend to center around I-95/US-441. The most dangerous segments of the freeway run between NW 79th St. to NW 62nd St. and between the interchanges with I-195 and I-395.
Another road that influences the local accident rate is I-10. Like I-75, this highway tempts drivers to speed since it appears straight, flat, and wide. But many of the accidents in Lake City and Jacksonville happen on this interstate.
As it wends east and west between Daytona Beach and Tampa, I-4 sees nearly two fatalities per mile. The accidents on I-4 come primarily from traffic congestion. According to one study, the stretch of I-4 running through Orlando is the busiest and most dangerous highway in America.
Each measure of traffic risk paints a different picture. Your likelihood of having a car accident in Florida will depend on which roads and highways you travel. It will also depend on factors outside of your control, like weather and congestion.
Traveling through Florida’s major cities takes extra caution. But slowing down, driving defensively, avoiding accident hotspots, and wearing a seat belt will keep you safe as you travel through Florida’s most dangerous cities for car accidents.