Traffic

Why is Florida home to the worst drivers? Where do we start?

Blocking the box in Miami Beach
Blocking the box in Miami Beach dneal@MiamiHerald.com

We don’t use turn signals. We block the box, then complain about traffic. In other places, drivers negotiate serpentine canyon roads with knee-high guardrails or streets icy enough to host a Florida Panthers game. Here, 10 minutes of rain can turn the turnpike or Interstate 95 into a demolition derby.

So when financial site SmartAsset.com sifts through the 2016 numbers to say Florida has the nation’s worst drivers, there’s a strong sense of “tell us something we don’t know.”

Besides, haven’t we heard this before?

Yup. A year ago when SmartAsset’s breakdown of 2015 numbers ranked us 50 out of 50 states. We can’t get any lower without the numbers folks including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam.

Not among the numbers that led to us defending our title: number of cars into doughnut shops and nail salons. Data considered once again included percentage of insured drivers and DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers. The fatalities number was changed from deaths per 1,000 drivers to deaths per 100 million miles driven.

Our DUI arrests rate of 2.23 actually is the sixth lowest in the nation, which indicates we’re either responsible or getting away with it. Otherwise, well ... we’re still 49th out of 50, ahead of only Oklahoma, in insured drivers (76.2 percent). Our death rate of 1.42 is ninth, as is our volume of Googling “speeding tickets” or “driving tickets” (Googling for a friend, of course...).

Mississippi finished 49th or second worst again. Moving up the ladder through the bottom 10, we find Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, California, Alabama and Georgia.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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