Miami-Dade County

These are the safest and most dangerous cities to trick or treat. And Miami’s rank ...

On Thursday, more than 41 million kids and the adults tagging along with them are expected to hit the streets for Halloween trick or treating. So says the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder page.

As you enjoy temperatures topping the mid-80 degrees with only a 10% to 20% chance of showers to spoil the holiday fun in Miami and Bradenton, according to the National Weather Service in Miami, you may want to trade all that in for the chance of frost and 40 degrees in Las Vegas.

That’s not because you’re expecting to get ice cream in your goody bag and afraid it will melt.

Rather, Miami comes up rather low on a new survey tapping National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics.

We rank No. 3 among the most dangerous cities when taking into account distracted drivers, just behind Ocean City, Maryland, at No. 1. Park City in Utah, Arlington in Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee, all tied for No. 2, according to the survey.

According to NHTSA data of 65 million miles of travel, 32% of trips in the U.S. include at least one distraction event and 35% of drivers are distracted at least once per trip. The distractions include quick checks of the GPS or to change the radio station. (Not surprising given that most terrestrial stations play the same narrow playlist of songs, buttressed by commercials after commercials.)

But distractions are also phone-based, for an average of 23 seconds per ride, according to the report.

In Miami, the survey reported a 44% distracted rate. Ocean City was at 46% and the other three cities were at 45%.

“However, distraction isn’t the scariest thing on the road during Halloween. Based on data pulled from Oct. 31, 2018, we found that 39% of trips involved speeding, while 25% of drivers broke hard at least once. This means that speeding increased by an alarming 235% on Halloween, while hard braking increased 178%,” the Cambridge Mobile report read.

In Florida, Jacksonville ranked the worst in the state, at No, 4, at 52% of people caught speeding. Miami, in which most of the roads are clogged with never-ending construction, we were a mere No. 21, at 41% speeding.

Miami-Dade is making an effort to make things safer, however. Biscayne Park, for instance, routinely shuts off many streets with police cars so that kids and parents can walk about more safely. The gesture draws families from nearby neighborhoods including Miami Shores, El Portal and North Miami.

Here are the overall rankings:

HalloweenBlog-72DPI_fitted.png
The Cambridge Mobile Telematics graphic of least safe and safest U.S. cities for Halloween trick or treaters, tapping National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data in 2018. Cambridge Mobile Telematics

Least Safe Cities for Trick of Treaters

These cities (alphabetically) ranked high among distracted and/or speeding drivers in the survey.

Arlington, Texas.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The Hamptons, New York.

Jacksonville, Florida.

Memphis, Tennessee.

Miami, Florida.

Ocean City, Maryland.

Park City, Utah.

Portland, Oregon.

Safest Cities for Trick or Treaters

These cities (alphabetically) ranked with the fewest incidences of distracted driving in the U.S.

Las Vegas, Nevada.

Long Beach, California.

San Jose, California.

Seattle, Washington.

Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Safety tips

State Farm suggested several safety tips. These include:

Always accompany young children.

Stick to neighborhoods with sidewalks. If you must walk on the street, keep to the far left, facing traffic.

Cross safely: Use crosswalks; look left, right and left again before crossing.

Stick reflective tape onto costumes to make your child more visible. Carry a flashlight, too.

Drive slowly.

Be alert for children and eliminate in-car distractions.

Practice extra caution at intersections and corners.

Pull in and out of driveways carefully.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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