Miami Road Safety Overview
Miami Road Safety Overview
Traffic congestion leads to car accidents. These car accidents follow a common pattern in how, when, and where they happen. They also produce predictable results.
Why do car accidents happen so frequently in Miami? According to Miami-based attorney Sagi Shaked, “Several factors contribute to the problem. However, studies have shown that poor road conditions and dangerous driving behaviors are at the root of the problem.
Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians will continue to get hurt until Miami addresses these issues. Lawmakers and city officials have acknowledged that there’s a lot of work to do.
Read on to learn about Miami road safety and how you can drive safely in Miami.
Miami Car Accident Statistics
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) issues an annual Crash Facts report and a real-time crash dashboard that summarizes statistics by county. And Florida’s Target Zero program provides a Traffic Safety Dashboard (TSD) that provides city-level traffic accident data.
According to the crash dashboard, Miami-Dade County had 62,530 traffic accidents in 2021. Of these, about 22,196 traffic accidents happened in the City of Miami. The rest happened in the surrounding metropolitan area.
Miami’s 22,196 traffic accidents included 1,159 truck accidents, 885 pedestrian and bicycle accidents, and 488 motorcycle accidents. The most dangerous time to drive was around 9 p.m., according to the TSD. The next most dangerous time to drive was the afternoon rush hour, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
In many large cities, weekdays have more accidents than weekends. Miami flips this on its head. In Miami, the most dangerous day to drive is Saturday, according to the TSD. But keep in mind that Saturday starts at midnight. Many of these accidents happen between Friday night and Saturday morning.
On the TSD, the summer months have the most traffic crashes. Almost 28% of Miami’s traffic accidents happen in June and August. January and February had the fewest traffic accidents, with only about 14% of Miami’s accidents.
According to preliminary data from the FLHSMV crash dashboard, Miami-Dade County has experienced 42,022 car crashes as of September 17, 2022.
Out of those collisions:
- 579 crashes involved a bicycle, causing 15 bicycle fatalities
- 823 crashes involved a motorcycle, causing 33 motorcycle fatalities
- 1,195 crashes involved a pedestrian, causing 63 pedestrian fatalities
- 14,550 crashes were hit-and-run collisions, causing 19 fatalities
As you can see, 2022 is proving to be a deadly year for motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians in Miami-Dade County.
Miami Road Injuries and Deaths
In 2021, the TSD listed 381 fatal car accidents in Miami-Dade County, and sixty of these fatal accidents happened in Miami. The deadliest year on the TSD was 2021. Miami averaged about 42 fatal accidents per year for the prior nine years. The second most dangerous year was 2015, with 57 fatal accidents.
Miami’s crashes also caused over 11,000 injuries in 2021. These injuries included 191 serious injuries that incapacitated the accident victim and were severe enough to require an ambulance to transport the person from the scene.
The FLHSMV crash dashboard reports that out of Miami-Dade’s 42,022 collisions as of September 17, 2022, 205 were fatal crashes, and 12,921 were injury crashes – meaning over 30% of crashes have resulted in a fatality or injury in 2022. Those crashes have caused 221 deaths and 18,972 injuries.
Miami Car Accident Causes
Most Miami car accidents result from only a few causes. According to the Crash Facts report, careless driving is the most common cause of Miami crashes. Careless driving caused more accidents than the second and third most common causes combined.
Careless driving can include any traffic violation that does not have a specific citation associated with it. Some examples of careless driving under Florida law include:
- Improper lookout
- Distracted driving from something other than an electronic device
- Cutting off another vehicle
Speeding is the next most common cause of Miami accidents in the Crash Facts report. Speeding can take two forms. You can cause an accident by traveling faster than the posted speed limit. This usually means your vehicle travels faster than the vehicles around it, increasing the risk of a rear-end or lane change collision.
Excessive speed can also mean driving too fast for the road, weather, or traffic conditions. You can cause an accident with excessive speed even if you do not exceed the posted speed limit by losing control of your vehicle.
Failing to yield the right of way is another common cause of accidents in Miami, according to the Crash Facts report. Failure to yield usually happens at an intersection when a driver fails to wait their turn. Accidents at intersections with a traffic signal can result from a failure to yield to oncoming traffic when turning left or a failure to yield to cross-traffic when turning right.
Following too closely, commonly called tailgating, causes many injury accidents but does not cause many fatal accidents. Tailgating happens when you leave too little distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, which can cause a rear-end collision if the vehicle stops abruptly.
Vulnerable Road Users in Miami
According to the TSD, vulnerable road users in Miami made up a large percentage of those injured or killed. In Miami, 29 bicyclists and pedestrians were killed, and over 750 were injured in 2021. Of those injured, 67 suffered incapacitating injuries that required an ambulance.
Over 85% of the city’s bicycle and pedestrian accidents resulted in injury or death. Only about 130 bicyclists and pedestrians hit by cars escaped with no injuries.
The second-worst year for vulnerable road users on the TSD was 2021, and 2019 was the worst, with 32 fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents happened predominantly at intersections. These accidents often result from a failure to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the road inside the crosswalk.
Miami Car Accident Locations
Miami’s car accidents tend to cluster on a few roads and highways, including:
As one of the major routes running north and south through the city, US-1 can get very busy. US-1 has traffic accidents along its entire length. But the segment between I-195 and I-395 has the highest concentration of accidents, according to the TSD.
I-95 is another major north-south highway through Miami. It has a high density of car accidents near the interchange with I-195 and between NW 20th Street and the I-395 interchange.
12th Avenue in East Little Havana
The section of 12th Avenue between Flagler Street and SW 1st Street has a high number of accidents due to heavy congestion from locals and tourists.
Navigating Miami Roads Safely
Miami accidents tend to follow a few set patterns: Intersections where drivers fail to yield to traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Careless drivers pull out into traffic or maneuver without paying due attention. By recognizing these patterns, you can reduce your risk of an accident.
When driving in Miami, drive defensively and leave space between you and other vehicles. Slow down and always wear a seat belt. Following just a few guidelines can increase your chance of driving safely in Miami.
Miami, FL Road Safety Resources: