It’s no secret that Florida takes a lot of heat, being seen as one of the worst states for crime. But is it really? When it comes to car accidents, Florida actually has the third highest amount, following California and Texas. So in other words – yes, it really does have a lot of car accidents. As recently as last month, Florida drivers were driving the wrong way on the interstate and committing double hit and runs.
Let’s take a look at the actual Florida car crash data.
In 2013, a huge spike in crashes occurred, and that number continued steadily rising until 2019, when it finally started to decrease. Unfortunately, we do see a small uptick occur in 2021, so it’s hard to predict the trend. Fortunately the rates have at least plateaued.
What could have finally halted the steady rise of Florida car crashes during the 2010’s? Could it have been the 2019 law against texting and driving in Florida? Probably not, since sources say the law is rarely enforced, or if it is, the data is not being recorded. It couldn’t have been the pandemic, because that came a year later.
Regardless of the cause, it’s not quite a reason for celebration. Despite the total number of crashes starting to decrease, the number of fatal crashes is not. The percentage of car crashes with fatalities has actually been rising slightly for the last few years. Note that fatalities from car crashes include pedestrians who were struck by a car in Florida. Here is a graph showing the number of fatalities from car crashes in Florida.
The Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Florida
In order to stay safe on the roads, it’s important to know which roads and intersections have high rates of accidents. That way you can avoid these areas, or stay extra vigilant if you do encounter them. The following are some of the most dangerous places to drive in the Tampa area. Pinellas county, which holds St. Petersburg and Clearwater, is the Florida county with the highest fatality rates – a shocking 4.57 deaths per mile.
Not only is Interstate 4 the most dangerous road in Florida, but it’s actually the most dangerous road in the United States. According to the NHTSA, I-4 has the highest fatality rate among all interstate highways, with 1.25 fatalities per mile. This interstate begins north of Orlando and continues all the way to Tampa, but it’s the stretch from Orlando to Lakeland that has the most danger. There have been 775 crashes on that stretch of highway since 2016.
U.S. Route 19
Highway 19 starts in downtown St. Petersburg and continues up the west coast of Florida for a bit. One particularly fatal intersection along that road is at US-19 and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater (marked by the green pin on the map below). In fact, Route 19 has 6 of the top 8 most dangerous intersections in the county.
Downtown St. Petersburg Car Crashes
In downtown St. Petersburg, there is one intersection with a particularly high rate of accidents and injuries at 28th Street North and 1st Ave North. It’s a major intersection because it introduces the I-275 into downtown, so there is a lot of high traffic. Additionally, another intersection nearby at 34th street and 5th Ave North is also a cluster zone for accidents. Just the other day there was a fatal motorcycle crash at 31st and 5th Ave North when a car driver was turning left. Cars turning left are actually one of the top causes of motorcycle accidents, according to local St. Petersburg motor vehicle accident attorney Robert Healy. Both intersections are shown by a red marker on the map below.
Pedestrian Safety in Florida
A report by Smart Growth America ranked the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater area as the 8th most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the United States. There were 968 pedestrian fatalities in this area between 2010 and 2019. Overall Florida was ranked as the worst state for pedestrian safety, and according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Florida indeed has the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per resident.
Of course motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents occur on many other roads and intersections, but this is a brief view into the dangers of driving and walking in Florida, and specifically Pinellas county. It is imperative to stay extra vigilant in these areas, because according to the data, it’s a very high risk place to travel.