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Drunk Driving Problems: Where Does Your State Rank?

by John Gomez | Last Updated: March 10, 2017
Drunk Driving Problems

One would think that by now, everyone would understand that drunk driving is a terrible decision.  While there is no way to definitively know how many people are aware of the risks of drunk driving, statistics exist that reveal that drunk driving problems are as intense as ever.  Recently, an online public records database published a study that ranked the states across the country by the level of drunk driving problems each is experiencing.  The study should make it clear to anyone who reviews it that while the yeoman’s work of MADD and other organizations has made a positive difference, there is still much work to be done.  The San Diego car accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys will continue to work to raise awareness with regards to this serious public health problem.  We hope that more people are able to avoid this mistake in the future.

About the Drunk Driving State Rankings

A researcher at BackgroundCheck.org worked to compile the data that led to the rankings of the states based on their drunk driving problems.  BackgroundCheck.org provides free public data for those who are searching for different types of records.  Their researcher looked at the following variables for each state from 2014 and 2015:

  • Fatalities due to DUI
  • Rate of DUI-related fatalities in relation to all traffic deaths
  • The increase or decrease in DUI-related fatalities from the previous year
  • The DUI fatality rate per 100,000 residents
  • Number of DUI arrests
  • The DUI arrest rate per 100,000 residents
  • Percentage of motorists who self-reported overdrinking before driving in 2014

These variables were then weighted appropriately to account for differences in population so that an equitable comparison could be drawn.

Drunk Driving Problems Ranked by State – The Results

Based on all of the criteria, the 10 worst states in the country in terms of drunk driving problems, listed from worst to 10th worst, are as follows:

  1. Wyoming
  2. North Dakota
  3. South Dakota
  4. Montana
  5. South Carolina
  6. Mississippi
  7. New Mexico
  8. Kentucky
  9. Maine
  10. Arkansas

The 10 best states in terms of drunk driving problems, listed from best to 10th best, are as follows:

  1. New York
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Illinois
  4. New Jersey
  5. Utah
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Virginia
  8. Indiana
  9. Washington
  10. Kansas

Specific Category Leaders

Given how rates and percentages were used, it becomes relatively simple to compare certain variables that were used to formulate these rankings.  Below you’ll find several different rankings of states based on individual variables.  All listings are from worst to 10th worst.

Rate of DUI Fatalities Based on Total Traffic Fatalities

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Connecticut
  3. Wyoming
  4. North Dakota
  5. Texas
  6. Alaska
  7. Oregon
  8. Hawaii
  9. Montana
  10. Louisiana

Percentage Increase in DUI Fatalities from Previous Year

  1. Arkansas
  2. Missouri
  3. North Dakota
  4. South Carolina
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Vermont
  7. Texas
  8. Nebraska
  9. Louisiana
  10. Tennessee

DUI Fatality Rate Per 100,000

  1. Wyoming
  2. Montana
  3. North Dakota
  4. South Carolina
  5. Mississippi
  6. Louisiana
  7. Alabama
  8. Arkansas
  9. South Dakota
  10. Texas

DUI Arrest Rate Per 100,000

  1. South Dakota
  2. North Dakota
  3. Wyoming
  4. Colorado
  5. Maine
  6. Alaska
  7. Wisconsin
  8. New Mexico
  9. Kentucky
  10. Minnesota

Percentage of Adults Who Self-Reported Overdrinking Prior to Driving

  1. North Dakota
  2. Iowa
  3. Nebraska
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Montana
  6. South Dakota
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Michigan
  9. Nevada
  10. Louisiana

California’s Rankings

Overall, California finished 32nd out of 50 in the rankings.  Therefore, 31 states are seen as having worse drunk driving problems in California.  Below are the rankings for each of the individual criteria used in the study:

  • Number of DUI-related fatalities – 2nd with 914
  • DUI fatality rate vs. all traffic fatalities – 25th at 0.29 percent
  • Percentage increase/decrease from previous year – 20th with a 4.3% increase
  • DUI fatality rate per 100,000 – 42nd with 2.33 fatalities
  • Total DUI arrests – 1st with more than 141,000 arrests
  • DUI arrests per 100,000 – 12th with 360
  • Percentage of self-reporting drunk drivers – 16th with 1.9 percent

Clearly, California is going to rank at or near the top of the United States in just about any category that measures straight volume.  There are nearly 25 million licensed drivers in the state.  The state with the second most licensed drivers is Texas with over 15 million.  When those variables are discounted, it becomes clear that ranks approximately in the middle of the country in terms of rankings.  Those who would like to review the state rankings in full can do so here.

How a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

This is not the first time we have looked at the problem that is drunk driving.  Law enforcement is doing everything it can to identify and arrest people who are driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.  Advocacy groups are doing all they can as well.  Every private citizen also needs to do his or her part in order to help stamp out this problem at some point in the not-too-distant future.  There is more than one option for action for every individual.

The first, and most obvious step, is for people to simply not drink and drive.  If no one made this awful choice, there would be no studies on drunk driving problems, there would be no DUI fatalities and there would be no arrests for this crime.  Of course, you can only control your own actions.  Therefore, you also need to hold those accountable who may cause harm in a DUI accident.  Doing so could prevent that person from making the same mistake again or prevent others from making that choice in the first place.

In order to do so, however, you’ll need the help of a San Diego personal injury lawyer who understands what it takes to hold those who harm others while driving under the influence accountable.  If you or someone you love has been harmed by a drunk driver, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

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