The State of Florida recorded the highest number of annual crash fatalities of the last 4 years in 2021, despite a trend in less crashes.
As you can see in the chart above, the number of fatal crashes jumped from 3,185 fatalities in 2019 to 3,332 in 2020 despite the huge reduction in motorists due to COVID. In fact, if you look at the total number of crashes, you can see that Florida had a huge drop off in car accidents in 2020.
We hypothesized based on anecdotal data from 2020 during the COVID lockdowns that we saw tons of speeders on the highways that would normally be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on I-95, the Palmetto Expressway, and the Florida Turnpike. Our theory is that while there were fewer accidents in 2020, there were more fatal high speed accidents.
However, we’re struggling to understand what the heck happened in 2021? Total car crashes came close to the same numbers pre-COVID. Traffic has definitely jumped back up, so you can’t speed as easily as people did during the 2020 lockdown. Yet, fatalities went up to a 4 year high in 2021. Why?
South Florida Crash Data
Closer to home, we compiled the total number of crashes and crash fatalities for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Here’s what we found:
In 2021, South Florida had 118,008 car crashes. That’s up slightly from 2020, the year of the COVID lockdown. However, 2021 total South Florida crashes is till below the 133,074 car crashes in South Florida during the pre-COVID year of 2019.
But when you look at South Florida crash fatalities, you can see there was an increase from 767 fatalities in South Florida in 2020 during the lockdown to 820 fatalities in 2021. That’s a huge increase from the 686 crash fatalities reported in South Florida in 2019.
If there are fewer accidents, but accident fatalities, then we have to ask, what’s causing the increase?
- More speeding?
- More recklessness?
- More drunk driving?
Miami Crash Data
In Miami-Dade, car crashes jumped up from 51,543 during the 2020 lockdown year to 61,549 car crashes in 2021. That’s still below the, 65,143 car crashes reported in 2019, the last full pre-COVID year.
We lost 59 more people in 2021 in crash fatalities in 2021 compared to 2019 pre-COVID data. As you can see below, fatalities in Miami-Dade are at the highest level in the last 4 years.
What’s interesting is that the total number of crash injuries in Miami-Dade County is still below pre-COVID numbers. There were 28,278 crash injuries in Miami-Dade County in 2021. In other words, less people were hurt last year in crash injuries than the pre-COVID years, but yet more people died. There were more fatal accidents despite less injuries.
At the end of the day, remember to wear your seatbelt. Don’t drink and drive. Put your phone down. Pay attention to the road. Watch your following distance. Drive defensively because we drive with a bunch of morons in Miami.