The New Miami Vice

It's the official road-rage capital of America

By Andy Porras
Published on LatinoLA: July 26, 2007

The New Miami Vice

A recent PR buzz claims that Miami is hotter than ever.

Now the city long recognized as a fashion-forward destination with its chic boutique and luxury hotels, Latino cuisine and spicy night life can claim another distinction, a dubious one at that though. Miami is the official road-rage capital of America.

It won over the usual suspects, New York City, Chicago and L.A.

Why was Miami labeled as the worst city for road rage? The Hispanic Shadow knows ... but first some details.

AutoVantage, a national auto club, commissioned Prince Market Research (PMR), a survey firm, to administer "In The Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey" to motorists in several select cities across the nation. Peoria, Illinois not being one of them.

According to PMR, the road rage revealed in Miami included horn blowing, shouting, gesturing, driving aggressively, speeding, cutting people off in traffic, ignoring emergency vehicles, stealing parking spaces and flashing the ever-popular one-finger salute. Ay caramba, about the only infraction not attributed to these Floridians was striking a parking meter maid with a Jos?® Conseco souvenir bat!

But let's be totally honest: Who amongst us has not, at any one time, committed at least one of the above. Or two. Three?

The PMR Survey also divulged that Miami drivers are often angered by tailgating, with 63 percent of drivers stating they see this kind of behavior daily. Additionally, the survey said that half of the drivers in Miami experienced having a parking place stolen from them and that one-fourth of the drivers surveyed said that they saw drivers run red lights daily. Sometimes two or three vehicles at one time.

Other cities named as among the worst for road rage were Phoenix, Boston, and, of course, N.Y., and L.A.

On the good-guys list, Minneapolis led the pack and was designated as the city with the most courteous drivers in the country. Metro areas like Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle and Atlanta were also touted as being driver-friendly.

Okay, why did Miami grab the ambiguous award of the worst road rage city?

Let's take a look at a Miami "pie-chart" if you will. Labeling the survey pie with different segments we find that a large part of Miami's population is extremely angry on any given Sunday because their beloved Dolphins are swimming in murky NFL waters while Ricky Williams is still searching for the meaning of life in Northern California.

Miami is home to many Latino artists as well as Hispanic record company honchos. Unfortunately, it's impossible for contracts, compact discs and casting couches to accommodate everybody, you know. More than one would-be starlet is now working at a strip joint while her male counterpart conducts tours on boats skirting Gloria Estefa's oceanside palatial home.

Then there is a large group that longs to be back on their homeland where a certain cigar-smoking bearded prime minister rules. Theirs is a special anger filled with revolutionary thoughts. Another group, almost as large as this one, is heated up because they can't legally purchase their favorite puros - cigars!

Okay, let's review: pro sports fans, rejected or tarnished Latino celebs, homesick patriots and cigar aficionados. Position these acrimonious folks in an automobile and you can give any city, even Houston, a run for their money during a road-rage derby.

But Miami is made up of many more people than those listed above. So we need to recognize the rest of the city's road-rage team. And here they are ... retirees and recent immigrants!

The number-one destination of America's retirees is, you guessed it, Miami. How many seniles per mile can a freeway handle during rush hour? Or golf carters with daiquiris splashing while dashing in and out of traffic in the 'burbs! You get the picture, right?

Then too, this area of the U.S. has the highest percentage of immigrants of any metropolitan area in the U.S., surpassing Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. More than 50 percent of the county's population is foreign born. ??Habla whatever?

The more immigrants an area has, the greater number of different languages spoken and written. There isn't enough space on a stop sign pole to put "stop" in all the lingoes spoken there. Why some of these new Americans are used to driving on the opposite side of the road!

So there you have it. Now you know why Miami is Numero Uno on the nonprofessional demolition derby tour.

Other cities used in the survey were Cleveland, Dallas, Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, Baltimore and ... Fresno.

Driving to Dade County? Fasten your seat belt a tad tighter, be sure you're insured against non-insured drivers, and by all means have your favorite religious figure on the dashboard.

If you're to believe the PMR findings, you're in for the ride of your life. And honk if you like cigars.

About Andy Porras:
Porras is the publisher/editor of the bilingual monthly, CAlifas in the Sacramento area. Reach him at califasap@yahoo.com

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