Florida Ranks First for "Careless Drivers" but Last for Speeders

There's an old stereotype that the worst kind of Florida motorists are retired snowbirds who have forgotten how to pilot their cars — the ones who cruise at 20 mph under the speed limit in the left lane with the turn signal on for ten minutes. The latest analysis of the states with the worst drivers by Car Insurance Comparisons certainly seems to support that idea. Florida ranks first for the most careless drivers but dead last for speeding. 

The rankings were determined using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Factors included: 
  • Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • Failure to obey (percentage of fatal crashes that involved traffic signals, not wearing seat belts, and driving with an invalid driver’s license)
  • Drunk driving (percentage of fatal crashes that involved alcohol)
  • Speeding (percentage of driving fatalities that were speed-related)
  • Careless driving (pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 population)
Overall, Florida comes in as the state with the 32nd best drivers, which, in the scheme of things, isn't a proud ranking but pretty average, all things considered. 

The more telling data is where Florida ranks in the individual categories. 

Florida is first overall for careless driving, which includes pedestrian and bicycling fatalities. This finding supports a 2014 analysis from the League of American Bikers that dubbed Florida one of the most dangerous places for bicyclists in America. Seventeen percent of all bike fatalities in America happened in Florida. There were 21.7 deaths for every 10,000 people who regularly commute by bike in the state. 

Last year, Smart Growth America also found that four of the top five most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians in America were in Florida. In order, they included Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay, and Miami. 

So, sadly, no surprise there. 

However, Florida does rank last for fatalities caused by speeders. Which is interesting, considering nationwide about 29 percent of traffic fatalities are directly caused by speeding. 

Florida is also 41st for fatalities caused by drunk driving. The Sunshine State is ranked about average, at 29th, for fatalities that involved failure to obey more minor traffic laws like disregarding turn signals or not wearing a safety belt. 

The overall takeaway is that there's still a lot of driving-related deaths in Florida, but far too many of the victims are the ones who aren't driving the cars.