Cities in Florida With the Most and Least Safe Drivers
Staying safe on the road is important — and one of the best ways to avoid an accident is to understand how safe the roads are where you live. Knowing the most common factors that contribute to crash-related fatalities in your county can help you make smart driving decisions, which helps make your city roads and highways safer.
It can be risky getting behind the wheel, but the more information you have about what’s happening on the roads you travel every day, the better prepared you’ll be to contribute to safer roads. To help you out, we’ve identified the cities in Florida with the most and least safe drivers.
How We Determined the Safest Cities
To determine the 40 cities with the safest drivers, we consulted the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. From there, we looked at how many fatalities resulted from car accidents and compared that data to population numbers to ascertain how many fatalities there were per 100,000 residents. We used the data analysis from 66 counties, and applied it to the largest city or metropolitan located in that county.
How Florida Ranks
In 2014, the year for which the most current data is available, Florida had slightly more vehicle fatalities per 100,000 people than the national average. Florida reported 2,494 total traffic fatalities in 2014, or 12.54 per 100,000 people. In contrast, the state with the lowest number of fatalities reported 3.49 per 100,000 people. There were 685 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities and 245 speeding-related fatalities in 2014 in Florida. Overall, Florida ranks 32nd for fatalities per 100,000.
Even though these are the 40 safest cities in Florida, each county these cities reside in still experienced some fatalities on the roads. Find out how your county and city ranks and what types of factors contributed to fatal crashes where you live.
Topping our list as the city with the safest drivers is Crawfordville, a metro of Tallahassee. Located in Wakulla County, there were only 6.36 fatal accidents per 100,000. In 2014, both alcohol and failure to wear seat belts were factors in every fatal accident.
- Lake Butler
Lake Butler is the largest city in Union County, and in 2014 reported 6.58 fatal crashes. According to the data, all fatal accidents in Union county involved unrestrained light truck occupants. The fatalities also involved alcohol-impaired driving.
More than 56,000 people call Seminole County’s largest city, Sanford, home. Even with so many residents on the roads, Seminole County had relatively few fatalities in 2014–6.78 per 100,000. While there were no bicyclist fatalities, 23 percent resulted in a motorcyclist fatality and 13 percent resulted in a pedestrian fatality.
Jefferson County is home to just over 14,000 residents, with nearly 2,500 of them living in Monticello, a suburb of Tallahassee. None of the fatal accidents recorded in 2014 were alcohol- or speeding-related, though they all involved restrained passenger car occupants and occurred in intersections.
Country living meets city amenities in Baker County, a Jacksonville metro, where Macclenny is the largest city. Of the vehicle fatalities recorded in Baker in 2014, all of them involved alcohol-impaired driving and half were related to speeding.
- North Port
Most of the fatalities in Sarasota County in 2014 were involved in single-vehicle crashes. North Port is the county’s largest city, and fatalities involved passenger car occupants, light truck occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. With 7.81 deaths per 100,000, North Port comes in at number six on our list.
- Green Cove Springs
Military personnel make up a large portion of Clay County’s residents, with over 30,000 of them living in the unincorporated community of Lakeside. None of the fatalities recorded in the county in 2014 involved speeding, and only 16 percent were a result of alcohol-impaired driving.
- Fort Lauderdale
Broward is the second most populated county in Florida, and Fort Lauderdale is its largest city. Even though this county is known for spring break frivolity, alcohol was a factor in only a quarter of the 9.26 per 100,0000 fatalities in 2014.
- West Palm Beach
Over 1.3 million people call this Sunshine State county home. West Palm Beach is the largest city in Palm Beach County, with over 100,000 residents. There were more pedestrian fatalities than motorcyclist or bicyclist fatalities, while 38 percent of the fatalities were passenger car occupants.
Miami-Dade is the seventh most populous county in the country, and Miami is its largest city. Thanks to safe driving, Miami-Dade experienced just 10.51 vehicle fatalities per 100,000 people in 2014. That’s impressive when you consider how many drivers must be on the road in a county of more than 2.6 million. Alcohol was a factor in less than one-third of the fatal incidents.
Navarre is the largest city in the panhandle county of Santa Rosa County. In 2014, most of the county’s fatal accidents involved passenger cars and light trucks, and speeding was a contributor in fewer than 17 percent of the fatalities. Only 5 percent of the total fatalities were motorcyclists, but in every instance the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. Helmets save lives, so keep wearing them.
Home to the Big Cypress National Preserve and the city of Naples, Collier County obeys speed limits: only 5 percent of fatalities involved speeding. Nearly half of the 11.18 fatal accidents occurred in intersections and 20 percent of the fatalities were pedestrians.
- Port Charlotte
Named for Charlotte Harbor Bay, Charlotte County is home to just over 160,000 people — more than 30 percent of whom live in Port Charlotte. In nearly all instances of the county’s motorcycle fatalities, a helmet was not worn.
- Spring Hill
Spring Hill is the largest community in Hernando County, and the Suncoast Highway gives residents easy access to nearby Tampa. Even with such regular use of the highway, speed wasn’t a factor in a single fatal accident within the county in 2014. Keep up the good work Spring Hill drivers.
Orange County is home to the amusement park mecca Orlando, which is also its largest city. Despite an influx of more than 60 million visitors per year, this county saw relatively few automobile-related fatalities. Most were single-vehicle accidents and just under one-third cited alcohol as a factor.
Tallahassee, the largest city in Leon County, is home to two of Florida’s state universities. With more than 275,000 people residing in Leon County, including upwards of 50,000 college students, alcohol use and speeding were involved in relatively few fatal accidents — 36 percent resulted from alcohol-impaired driving and 15 percent involved speeding.
- Palm Bay
Known as the Space Coast because of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County is home to more than half a million people, and comprises the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro. Accident fatalities occurred across the board, involving trucks, passenger vehicles, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, with pedestrians making up 32 percent of the total fatalities.
Alachua County and its most populated city, Gainesville, are known for their diverse culture, music, and local artisans. About 40 percent of the fatalities were single-vehicle crashes and only 3 percent of the fatalities were bicyclists, but almost a third of the fatalities had alcohol as a factor.
- Fort Myers-Cape Coral
Over 660,000 reside in Lee County, with Cape Coral and Fort Myers being the most populous cities. A little more than one-third of the 11.92 per 100,000 fatalities in this county took place in an intersection. Speeding was a factor in 16 percent of the accidents, while alcohol contributed to just over 23 percent.
This landlocked county is home to the smallest population of any county in Florida. Fewer than 10,000 people live in Liberty, with the majority living in the county seat of Bristol. In 2014, all of the fatal car accidents involved the rollover of a single vehicle, and alcohol was not involved in any fatalities. At 11.96 fatalities per 100,000 it rounds out our top 20.
The bay city of Tampa is the largest city in Hillsborough County, which is the fourth-largest county in the state. More than half of the fatalities were single-vehicle crashes and both alcohol and speeding were found to be contributing factors in several fatal crashes.
Because Chipley, the largest city in Washington county, is a dry county it’s not surprising that zero of the vehicle fatalities were related to alcohol consumption. Instead, speeding and failure to wear seat belts were the main culprits to the 12.27 fatalities per 100,0000 people.
- St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the most populous city in Pinellas county– home to nearly one million residents. Safe driving helped limit automobile fatalities in 2014. Nearly half of the deadly accidents occurred in intersections, and failure to use proper restraints as well as speed and alcohol contributed to fatalities.
- Port St. Joe
With just over 15,000 residents, Gulf County is a relatively small panhandle county. Port St. Joe is the largest city with a population of nearly 3,500. Alcohol was a contributor in roughly half of the fatal crashes in 2014, but zero were found to be due to excessive speed.
- Cross City
Even though its population is just under 2,000, Cross City is the largest city in Dixie County. Neither speed nor alcohol were cited as factors in any of Dixie County’s fatal crashes, and there were no motorcyclist or bicyclist fatalities. Yet there were still 12.57 fatalities per 100,000.
The largest city in Gadsen County is Quincy, with nearly 8,000 residents. One of the most diverse counties in Florida, Gadsen saw very few crash-related fatalities in the most recent reporting year. There were no bicyclist, pedestrian, or motorcyclist fatalities, and none of the fatalities were due to alcohol-impaired driving. All of the 12.96 fatalities per 100,000 were due to single vehicle car crashes.
Lake County was founded in 1887 and it and its most populated city, Clermont, embraced citrus as the primary industry during the Great Depression. No fatal accidents were caused by speeding within the county, but alcohol was found to be a factor in several of the fatalities. As part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro, it had the most fatalities reported for its area.
- Palm City
Nestled in the Treasure Coast, Martin County is Florida’s fifth-largest county in regard to land area. Palm City is home to the most residents in the county. Nearly all forms of transportation were involved in fatal crashes in 2014, including motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, and passenger cars.
- Port St. Lucie
St. Lucie was originally inhabited by the Ais tribe. Today, the majority of residents in this county of almost 300,000 live in Port St. Lucie. Speeding was not a factor in any fatalities and 60 percent of the fatal crashes involved single vehicles.
Jacksonville is the county seat and largest city in Duval County, which is home to just under 900,000 people. Of the fatalities in 2014, 30 percent involved pedestrians and 18 percent involved motorcyclists.
Calhoun is one of the Sunshine State’s least populated counties, with fewer than 15,000 total inhabitants. Blountstown’s population of around 2,500 makes it the largest city in Calhoun County. Contributing factors did not include alcohol or speeding, but half of the total fatalities were pedestrians and half were passenger car occupants.
You can’t get any further west in Florida than Escambia County, whose largest city is Pensacola. Of the vehicle fatalities in Escambia in 2014, the majority involved single-vehicle crashes and 18 percent were not wearing seat belts.
Named after the Florida Manatee, Manatee County is home to 342,000 people. The largest population resides in the city of Sarasota. Around 38 percent of the motorcyclist and bicyclist fatalities reported in 2014 were not wearing a helmet.
- Key West
Monroe County is home to the Florida Keys islands, with Key West being the most populous city. Of the fatalities in the county in 2014, none involved large trucks or passenger cars — light truck occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians were all involved in fatal accidents.
- New Port Richey
New Port Richey is the largest city in the gulf coast county of Pasco. Only 2 percent of fatal accidents were speeding-related and no bicyclists were killed, though 23 percent of the total fatalities were pedestrians.
Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and the state of Alabama, Okaloosa County is home to three U.S. Air Force bases, with Destin being the most recognizable city in the county. Nearly 35 percent of the deadly crashes in 2014 were related to alcohol use. At 14.76 deaths per 100,0000, it comes in at number 36.
Large trucks accounted for the largest number of fatalities in Bradford County, represented by its largest city of Starke. None of the fatal crashes involved a rollover and there were no motorcyclist or bicyclist fatalities.
- Vero Beach
Indian River is one of the most affluent counties in the country. The city of Vero Beach is both the county seat and the largest city in Indian River. Speed contributed to only 4 percent of the fatal accidents, while alcohol was involved in nearly 41 percent.
Kissimmee is the biggest city and county seat for Osceola County. More than two-thirds of fatal crashes in the county in 2014 were single vehicle, while speeding was a factor in only 4 percent.
There are over 330,000 residents that call Marion County home, and the biggest city is Ocala. Failure to wear seat belts was a factor in 32 percent of the fatalities, but speed was a contributor in only 10 percent of the deadly crashes.
Florida Counties with the Least Safe Drivers
Florida counties with the most vehicular fatalities per 100,000 people include Levy, Hardee, Jackson, Suwannee, and Hamilton. Alcohol was a factor in some deadly accidents in each of these counties, but speed didn’t play a role in any of the fatalities recorded in both Hardee and Hamilton counties. There were no motorcycle fatalities in Levy, Jackson, or Hamilton, and Levy was the only county with any pedestrian fatalities. Another common thread among all of the least safe counties was failure to properly use safety restraints.
While it can be challenging to completely eliminate deadly accidents, understanding the impact of factors we can control — like following the speed limit, using seat belts, and never drinking and driving — can make a positive difference. Help make the roadways and streets in your Florida county safer by passing this information along to friends and neighbors who share the road with you and your loved ones.
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