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Expat wanderer

The Official Worst Drivers in America: Miami has figured out which city has the worst drivers in America: Miami, Fla.

Slate looked at years of data about traffic accidents, automotive fatalities, alcohol-related driving deaths and pedestrian strike rates as indicators of bad driving.

Three out of the five cities with the worst drivers are found in the Sunshine State, with Miami topping the list as the absolute worst. Miami is first in auto fatalities and pedestrian strikes and, according to Slate, first in “obscenity-lace tirades of their fellow driver”. Fellow Floridian cities Hialeah, which comes in at number three, and Tampa at number four also seem to host a populace with a passion for running down pedestrians and fatal car accidents.

Miami shows up on more than just’s worst list. The Huffington Post reported that Miami also had the most hit-and-runs in Florida last year, an incredible 35 a day. Transportation for America also ranked the most dangerous cities in America to drive in, with the top four all in Florida. Maybe Floridians should look into buying heavy-duty trucks and steering clear of sidewalks.

From the original report at where you can read the entire article:

Adjusting the Allstate rankings for mileage this way has significant effects. Washington, D.C. remains the worst driving city using the insurance claims data, but Philadelphia surges to second worst. Hialeah drops seven places, from fourth to 11th.

Next we consider additional indicators. Car crashes are bad, but some accidents are worse than others. In July 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published automobile fatality data for major cities and metropolitan statistical areas from the year 2009. It’s useful for our purposes, but it comes with a couple of caveats. The researchers didn’t publish data for some of the smaller cities on our list. In those cases, we’ll use data from the larger metropolitan area. In addition, three cities (Boston, Newark, N.J., and Providence) had fewer than 20 fatalities, but the precise number is unpublished. We’ll assume that each of these cities had 10 fatalities, so we have a number to enter into the calculations.

Drunk drivers are bad drivers, and some cities have far more of them than others. Not all locales publish reliable data on drunk driving fatalities, so we’ll turn to the Century Council, an association of distillers organized to combat drunk driving. The group published the number of fatalities from alcohol-related car accidents in 2011. The data are, unfortunately, broken down by state rather than city. So, for our purposes, the sins of the state will be visited upon the cities. (New York City has reliable data, so we can use city-specific data in that instance.) We can’t adjust the statewide data for mileage, because our mileage numbers relate only to cities themselves. So DWI fatalities will have to be computed per capita, unadjusted for how many miles residents of a city drive.

Pedestrian strikes are another key metric. For this indicator we turn to the CDC’s WONDER, a searchable database of morbidity and mortality statistics. It’s a priceless epidemiological tool as well as a bottomless source of trivia. The most granular data on pedestrian injuries and deaths is by county.

You might object to the use of pedestrian injuries as a metric of driver incompetence, because some cities have far more pedestrians than others. That’s a fair point, but consider New York City. It is, by far, the most walked city in the United States. Two-thirds of New Yorkers either walk or use public transit to get to work. According to the website, only 2 percent of New Yorkers live in neighborhoods where cars are necessary. While every pedestrian strike is a tragedy, there are fewer in New York than you might expect. Miami-Dade County, a significantly less walked city, had 20 percent more pedestrian strikes per mile driven between 2006 and 2010 than New York.

. . . . .

And now, America, on to the cities with your worst drivers.

No. 5: Baltimore. Baltimoreans just can’t keep from running into each other. They were outside the top 10 in fatalities, DWI deaths, and pedestrian strikes, but their rate of collision couldn’t keep them out of the top five overall.

No. 4: Tampa, Fla. Tampa doesn’t do any single thing terribly, but it is consistently poor: 18th worst in years between accidents, fifth in traffic fatalities, tied for 11th in DWI fatalities, and 10th in pedestrian strikes. If the city had managed to get outside the bottom half in any individual category, Tampa residents might have avoided this distinction.

No. 3: Hialeah. The drivers of Hialeah get into a middling number of accidents, ranking 11th among the 39 candidates. But when they hit someone, they really mean it. The city finished third for fatalities. They also have a terrifying tendency to hit pedestrians.

No. 2: Philadelphia. Drivers in the city of brotherly love enjoy a good love tap behind the wheel. Second-places finishes in collisions and pedestrian strikes overwhelm their semi-respectable 16th-place ranking in DWI deaths.

No. 1: Miami. And it’s not even close. First in automotive fatalities, first in pedestrian strikes, first in the obscenity-laced tirades of their fellow drivers.

A couple of other noteworthy findings: Californians did reasonably well. Although the Golden State had seven cities among our 39 candidates, only Glendale finished in the top half of the table. Louisiana’s two entries, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, finished 6th and 15th, owing to the state’s terrible record of drunk driving fatalities.

Washington, D.C., the whipping boy of the Allstate rankings, dropped to 16th, owing to low numbers of DWI fatalities. Boston drivers don’t deserve the torment they receive. They have few automotive fatalities and rarely kill people in alcohol-related accidents. It goes to show how flawed opinion polls can be.

July 27, 2013 - Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Florida, Health Issues, Law and Order, Safety | , , , , ,


  1. Do you suppose the high rate of terrible drivers in Florida has anything to do with the high number of senior citizens living there? I know we both fit in that category but we are on the young side of the equation. Think impaired vision, slower reflexes and confusion or fear of losing license for the hit and runs. I know my father in law who is 94 and still driving locally comes home with plenty of unexplained dings that he claims not to know how they happened. I think he would rather die than give up his license.

    Comment by momcatwa | July 28, 2013 | Reply

  2. I can’t speak for all of Florida, but my experience in the Tampa area and the Pensacola area would tell me that the seniors mostly are not driving at night and during the day most of them are careful. My feeling, from police reports, is that most fatalities are alcohol related – drunk drivers hit cars, drunk drivers hit pedestrians. There are occasional accidents where a senior hits the gas instead of the brake, but most of that is parking, and property damage, not fatalities. What does TopCop say? What is the cause of most of the fatalities in your location?

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 28, 2013 | Reply

  3. I would say impaired driving-alcohol or drugs is the leader. There are also a lot of cell phone related problems. But we have had some high visibility accidents due to Alzheimer impaired drivers. I haven’t heard much in the way of pedestrian involved accidents around here but we don’t always hear what’s happening in Seattle.

    Comment by momcatwa | July 28, 2013 | Reply

  4. Pensacola is like Kuwait – a lot of pedestrian fatalities. Some caused by impaired drivers, some caused by inexperienced drivers, many caused by pedestrians crossing major highways in unexpected places.

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 29, 2013 | Reply

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