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DUI Danger: Study Ranks Drunk Driving Deaths By State

by John Gomez | Last Updated: March 22, 2017
Drunk Driving Deaths

Are some states or geographic regions in the United States more prone to having drunk drivers on their roads than others?  Is there any reason to think that some parts of the country are more dangerous when it comes to DUI accidents or drunk driving deaths?  While a recent study does not necessarily answer those questions definitively, it does pinpoint some surprising and in some cases troubling statistics with regards to drunk driving deaths and other problems on the road in different states.  The San Diego car accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys are always working to raise awareness with regards to the dangers of drunk driving.  We hope that the more people know about this public safety hazard, the more likely it becomes that they will make the right decision the next time they are faced with the choice of whether or not to drive.

About the Drunk Driving Deaths Rankings

Alcoholic.org completed the statistical study that delves into drunk driving deaths and several other safety problems.  Those who would like to review the entire breakdown can find it here.  The data used in this study were provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s FARS database that tracks different traffic-related statistics.  Based on those data, the following are the 10 most dangerous jurisdictions in the United States in terms of drunk driving deaths between 1994 and 2015.  The jurisdictions are listed from most dangerous to 10th most dangerous and the rate that appears next to the jurisdiction’s name is the number of drunk driving deaths per 100,000 residents.

  1. Wyoming – 7.7
  2. Montana – 7.0
  3. North Dakota – 5.7
  4. Mississippi – 5.3
  5. South Dakota – 5.3
  6. West Virginia 4.9
  7. South Carolina 4.8
  8. Arkansas – 4.6
  9. Louisiana – 4.2
  10. New Mexico – 4.2

The 10 safest jurisdictions in the United States, listed from safest to 10th safest, include:

  1. Washington, D.C. – 0.6
  2. New York – 0.8
  3. Massachusetts – 1.0
  4. New Jersey – 1.4
  5. Utah – 1.5
  6. Virginia – 1.8
  7. Rhode Island – 2.0
  8. California – 2.1
  9. Maryland – 2.1
  10. Connecticut – 2.2

We covered another study that ranked states based on drunk driving problems recently, and if you compare those rankings to these you’ll find some similarities on these lists.

How Much Alcohol?

The study goes on to explore just how much alcohol was in people’s systems when they were involved in DUI accidents.  Once again, those data were organized by state and the jurisdictions were ranked accordingly.  Below you’ll find the states with the 10 highest average blood alcohol levels in drivers involved in fatal crashes since 1994:

  1. Wyoming – 0.180
  2. North Dakota – 0.177
  3. South Carolina – 0.176
  4. New Mexico – 0.175
  5. Montana – 0.175
  6. South Dakota – 0.174
  7. Oklahoma – 0.173
  8. Pennsylvania – 0.173
  9. West Virginia – 0.172
  10. Alaska – 0.171

All 50 states have a BAC limit of 0.08, which means that the average drunk driver involved in crashes in the jurisdictions above had a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit.

Drugged Driving Deaths State Rankings

Driving under the influence does not only concern alcohol.  Unfortunately, more and more people are driving drugged these days given the prevalence of such substances as prescription medications, marijuana, methamphetamine and others.  The researchers ranked the jurisdictions based on the number of drugged driving fatalities per 100,000 residents.  Below you’ll find the 10 most dangerous, listed from most dangerous to 10th most dangerous:

  1. West Virginia – 2.33
  2. Wyoming – 1.76
  3. Vermont – 1.63
  4. Idaho – 1.59
  5. Arkansas – 1.57
  6. Montana – 1.54
  7. Kansas – 1.44
  8. Nevada – 1.30
  9. Tennessee – 1.18
  10. South Carolina – 1.16

The 10 safest jurisdictions in terms of drugged driving fatalities, listed from safest to 10th safest, include:

  1. Massachusetts – 0.08
  2. New York – 0.09
  3. Minnesota – 0.10
  4. Virginia – 0.11
  5. Hawaii – 0.14
  6. New Mexico – 0.18
  7. Nebraska – 0.19
  8. Maine – 0.20
  9. Maryland – 0.20
  10. Wisconsin – 0.2

There is some crossover between the states with the highest rates of drunk driving deaths and the highest rates of drugged driving deaths.  Five jurisdictions appear on both of those Top 10 lists.

Drug-Related Car Accident Deaths – The Substances Involved

The study takes the step of breaking down the substances involved in fatal drugged driving car accidents across the United States since 1994.  The five most common substances and their corresponding percentages of all drugged driving crashes are as follows:

  1. Marijuana – 26.8 percent
  2. Stimulants – 21.3 percent
  3. ‘Other’ drugs – 19.7 percent
  4. Depressants – 14.7 percent
  5. Narcotics – 13.6 percent

California Drunk Driving Deaths

Generally speaking, California ranked somewhere near the middle of the jurisdictions in all of the rankings above.  In terms of drunk driving deaths in the state, the raw numbers remain quite high, however.  According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the following statistics describe the danger presented by drunk drivers in the state:

  • More than 1,000 people are killed in California DUI accidents every year.
  • That represents nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the state.
  • People between the ages of 21 and 34 face the highest risk of being killed in a DUI accident.
  • Males are killed at three times the rate as females in DUI accidents.

How a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

While it’s informative to see where drunk driving deaths happen most often, the bottom line is that nowhere is completely safe from this danger.  More than a million people are arrested on suspicion of DUI in the United States every year.  Countless others are driving while under the influence of alcohol or some other intoxicant and not getting caught.  Motorists simply need to be aware that people making this terrible mistake are out there.

If you or someone you love has been injured or worse because of a drunk driver, you need to take action as soon as possible to make sure that your legal rights are properly enforced.  Contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

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