Is Florida the most dangerous state in the nation to drive in? In this
article, we used a dataset that compiled fatal auto accident crash statistics
for every state in the nation, provided by The Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety, or IIHS, for short. This national 501(c)(3) non-profit
research and educational safety agency provides vehicle safety standards
and ratings based on vigorous and highly-specialized research. IIHS is
also a major provider of yearly highway and roadway crash data that are
used by various agencies and organizations all over the nation.
We reviewed the data for 2013 to find out just how safe Florida drivers
are on the roadways compared with driver in other states. To eliminate
data variance and errors, we use a standardized metric that allows us
to correct for population fluctuations from state to state: auto accident
deaths per 100,000 residents.
Our findings generally reveal that Florida is a pretty safe state to drive
in, with some exceptions. Read on for screenshots, theories, and explanations
as to what risks Florida drivers face.
How Florida Ranks When It Comes to Fatal Auto Accident Crashes
In 2013, Florida highway safety authorities documented 2,228 fatal auto
accident crashes statewide, and 2,406 total deaths. When pegged to population,
these numbers put Florida as the 32nd deadliest state to drive in. Fatal accident deaths per 100,000 residents
was 12.3 in Florida, compared with a national average of 10.3. That means
for every 100,000 Florida residents, approximately 12.3 drivers lost their
lives in a fatal
New York, which has approximately the same population as Florida at the
end of 2014 (19,651,127 residents to 19,552,860, respectively), had only
6.1 fatal accident deaths per 100,000 residents. From this perspective,
Florida drivers are about twice as likely to die in an auto accident over
resident drivers in our most comparable population state, New York.
California, the most population state in the nation with nearly twice as
many people as Florida, had only 7.8 fatal auto accident deaths per 100,000
residents, or about 2/3rd that of our state.
One theory for the discrepancy between New York and Florida might be the
fact that New York, with dense concentrations of its population in New
York City, has a smaller portion of its residents driving on roadways.
According to our dataset, New Yorkers drove an average of only 6,500 miles
per resident in 2013, compared with Floridians who drove an average of
about 10,000 miles per resident. Floridians are more likely to own a car
and drive more often than New Yorkers, putting them at a proportionately
higher likelihood of getting involved in an auto accident. We know this
because our dataset shows a high correlation between total miles driven
in a given state to the total number of fatal crashes for that state.
Correlation between miles traveled and fatal crashes is statistically
significant at about 0.96.
How Florida Ranks When It Comes to DUI Deaths
Florida is a state with relatively low
DUI deaths as a percentage of total fatal crashes, with only 40% of the state drivers
who were killed in a fatal crash on a Florida roadway having been found
to have a blood-alcohol content level at the time of the crash high enough
to determine the accident was the fault of the impaired deceased driver.
This puts Florida in the first quartile of percent of fatal DUI accidents,
which is good for Florida drivers.
The U.S. on average is just about in the middle of pack, so to speak, with
about 52% of fatal crashes the result of a DUI. The bottom five states
with the highest percentage of accident fatalities that were the result
of an impaired driver, each with over 64%, are Iowa, Alabama, Maine, Mississippi,
and North Dakota.
However, Florida has the fourth largest population in the nation behind
California, Texas, and New York, so we must take a look at how many DUI
Deaths occur in the state in relation to total population. What we see
is that for every 100,000 Florida residents, about 4.5 DUI Deaths took
place in 2013. That puts the state at number 20 in the nation, roughly
in line with the national average (4.9). Compare that with the worst states
in the nation for DUI Deaths per 100,000 residents, North Dakota and Mississippi,
at approximately 13 each. While the combined total population in those
two states is just a fraction of Florida’s population, a much higher
percentage of their state’s drivers are dying from DUI-related auto
Another interest fact is that population is highly correlated to DUI driver
deaths. This makes sense. The more residents a state has, proportionately,
a higher number of DUI deaths will follow. But what’s not correlated
is miles traveled per residents to DUI driver deaths, or fatal crashes.
What this means is that there is no relationship between the average amount
of miles or distance driven per resident and fatal crashes or fatal DUI
crashes. Driving more often doesn’t put you at a higher risk of
getting involved in a fatal auto accident.
Is Florida Safer To Drive In Than Other States?
The main question this article aims to answer is whether, statistically
speaking, Florida is a safer state to drive in when compared to other
states. The answer is yes. But that doesn’t mean you should let
your guard down. At 2,407, Florida ranks at number three overall in the
nation for the most auto accident deaths in 2013. However, when that number
is adjusted for population, Florida ranks at number 21, which is still
below the U.S. average. With 13,670,441 licensed drivers in Florida during
2013, your chances of being killed in an auto accident were 0.017% - just
a small fraction of one percent. Those are pretty slim odds.
As it turns out, Florida is probably safer to drive in than many other
states – so long as you’re not drinking and driving. We know
that DUI deaths account for a large percentage of deaths on the roadways.
Even in the “state” or territory that has the lowest percentage
of deaths caused by DUI in the U.S., the District of Columbia, that percentage
is still 25%, meaning one out of four traffic deaths in the territory
are the cause of a DUI accident.
Florida auto accident dataset we used here.
Data is courtesy of IIHS Highway Safety Research and Communications department, found here.
If you’ve lost someone you love, or know someone who has lost someone
they love due to a traffic-related auto, trucking, or motorcycle accident,
please consider calling our personal injury office if you are not currently
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