Over the last two years, the number of road traffic accidents reported in Palm Beach County has declined. According to the most recent Crash Facts report, which is published annually by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles agency, there were 51,181 accidents in Palm Beach County, a decrease of 2% from 2021. There 9,951 injury causing accidents in 2022, tragically including 223 motor vehicle deaths. As of August 2023, the FLHSMV had counted 15,773 year-to-date crashes, and the preliminary projections made by traffic data analysts suggest that this year will report an even more pronounced decline.
In June 2023, The Palm Beach Post reported on the work of researchers from the University of Florida, an institution fully committed to improving public safety through data science. Using large sets of data collected by the Florida Department of Transportation over a decade, the UF Signal Four Analytics platform correlates road traffic accident information with data managed by the National Complete Streets Coalition. What this platform has shown for Palm Beach County indicates that intersections continue to be the deadliest spots for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Understanding Traffic Risks at Intersections
Even though the overall number of collisions has declined around Palm Beach, the number of road traffic injuries and deaths at intersections has remained stubbornly steady. When we compared data from Signal Four Analytics with similar projects in other states, we can see that Florida is a deadly place for pedestrians; in fact, it is only second to New Mexico in terms of road traffic accidents with pedestrian fatalities. The data shows that 3,000 out of each 100,000 pedestrians walking around Florida are fatally struck by motor vehicles.
In Palm Beach County, intersections are where car accidents are more likely to result in injury or death. Despite a downward trend in the number of annual countywide collisions, 330 of the 816 injuries reported for 2022 were suffered at intersections. As for fatalities, 18 of the 220 road traffic deaths happened at intersections. From January to April 2023, there were 115 serious injuries and 27 deaths at Palm Beach intersections; this is substantially higher than the rates of other accidents such as lane-cutting at high speeds.
Here are the factors that make Palm Beach intersections more dangerous:
- Driver distractions: Smartphones, food, and paying attention to passengers instead of paying attention to the road.
- Speeding: At intersections, drivers have less time to react to other vehicles and pedestrians if they are speeding.
- Failure to yield: Drivers who fail to yield the right of way are a major cause of intersection accidents when they try to turn without looking for oncoming traffic. Pedestrians who cross the street without waiting for the light to change, or who don’t use crosswalks, also fall under this category.
When discussing road traffic safety in Palm Beach County, we can’t ignore that the Sunshine State is infamous for having many intersections where safety is questionable. Here are some Palm Beach intersections where drivers and pedestrians should pay even more attention:
Most Dangerous Intersections Around Palm Beach
Five of the county’s intersections where serious road traffic accidents are more likely to happen are situated along the Military Trail:
- Forest Hill Boulevard near Palm Springs
- PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens
- Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach
- Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach
- Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens
Other dangerous intersections include State Road 7 and Forest Hill Boulevard, Robbins Drive and Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, and the busy corner of 45th Street and Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach.
If you can’t avoid the aforementioned intersections, keep in mind that road traffic safety begins and ends with situational awareness. If your car is equipped with drive-assist features such as pedestrian detection sensors, be sure to activate them as you approach intersections in Palm Beach.