Ocala named worst city in Florida to drive in

Published: Apr. 5, 2019 at 12:50 PM EDT
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According to financial news website 24/7 Wall St., Ocala is the worst city in Florida to drive in.

The website made the list by creating an index with information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 2017, the American Community Survey from 2017, the National Insurance Crime Bureau Hot Spots Report for 2017, and the Council for Community and Economic Research's cost of living index for metropolitan statistical areas.

24/7 Wall St. published this data about Ocala:

Traffic fatalities per 100,000 people: 25.4 (state: 14.8)

Avg. commute time: 25.4 min. (state: 27.8 min.)

Commuters driving to work: 90.0% (state: 88.4%)

2017 car thefts per 100,000 people: 224.6

Other cities that made the top spots in their states include Florence-Muscle Shoals in Alabama, Macon in Georgia, and Florence in South Carolina.

For the full list, follow the link to the right of this article.


It's not Jacksonville, Tampa or even Miami, but Ocala was named Florida's worst city to drive in by the 24/7 wall street publication.

Here's what Ocala drivers had to say about driving in their city.

The first response to us telling people the news was typically laughter, followed up quickly by "what about Miami or Orlando?" We did, however, get answers from both sides of the coin, but mostly everyone disagreed.

The designation of worst Florida city to drive in is based on 4 different metrics. Traffic fatalities per 100,000 people, average commute time, how many commuters drive to work and car thefts per 100,000 people. But naming Ocala as the worst of them all to some just doesn't sound right.

Jon Dreaver has lived in Ocala for a year, and previously lived in the Florida Keys, he said, "well that's a little shocking unless they haven't been around the entire state of Florida this is not that bad of a town. It's a little bit of a country town, a farm town but I definitely wouldn't say it's the worst city to drive in."

Joseph Niles is a life-long Ocala resident who for 43 years drove a utility company truck in the city, he said. "Not true, drive in Orlando, drive in Jacksonville or Tampa, they're bat guano crazy. Here in Ocala at least they use the turn signals on occasion."

Duke Schneider, a driver's ed teacher in Ocala for 7 years said, "I've been on the East coast and the West coast of Florida and just go there and drive and you'll see traffic unbelievable. So no Ocala it's not. Plus there are enough back roads that can get you around Ocala that is in horse country that's absolutely gorgeous."

Mel Poole who grew up in Ocala left and then came back 8 years ago echoed the previous sentiments. "No I disagree with that statement, but I will say in the 8 years since i've been back there's definitely been a challenge with the growth that Ocala has experienced in such a short period of time."

A few people however did agree, stating the older population driving too slowly can be bothersome.

Brandy Mosieur has been driving in Ocala for 20 years and she said, "I'd say yeah I'd put money on it that it's probably the worst. I'd say probably the snowbirds coming down, just slow and not paying attention to traffic signals."

As for which city people think actually deserve the title? Jon Dreaver summed it up the best.

"I'd be shocked if anybody didn't immediately name Miami, and then of course you have Orlando where anywhere you go it's going to be at least an hour even if you're only 5 minutes away from you destination. Then if you've lived in the Florida Keys, if you go there on a holiday weekend good luck."

We did stop into the Ocala Police Department to talk with sergeant Eric Hooper from the traffic unit who also disagreed with Ocala being named the worst Florida city to drive in. He also gave us numbers showing how in the past few years numbers of accidents caused by careless driving and distracted driving are going down for the city.