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Best and Worst States for Drunk Driving

DUIs are serious situations that can come with very substantial penalty. When the weather’s warm, DUIs often skyrocket, as people attend barbeques, graduation parties, and friendly get-togethers. According to Backgroundchecks.org, “Over 10,000 people were killed and more [than] 200,000 were [injured] in 2015 alone as a direct result of someone driving under the influence.”

According to Backgroundchecks.org, the ranking is based on “a combination of deaths directly attributable to DUIs, DUI arrests per 100,000 people, and drinking too much before driving, as reported by drivers themselves.” Once the company had that data in hand, they created a weighted formula to rank the 50 states.

These are serious numbers, but according to the data aggregated from the CDC and MADD, some states have bigger problems than others.

Here’s a look:

Worst & Best Overall Ranking

Worst: Wyoming weighed in as the worst state when it comes to drinking and driving. Although the total number of fatalities (56) are far lower than other states’ DUI deaths, the number per capita is substantial, given the low population of the state. 9.56 deaths per 100,000 were related to DUIs.

Best: New York got the award for the best overall status as far as DUIs are concerned, thanks to a decrease in DUI-related traffic deaths, a low number of people reporting to be drunk when driving, and a relatively few number of fatalities.

Highest & Lowest Percentage Increase in DUI-Related Traffic Deaths

Worst: Although the numbers are relatively small when compared to other states’ DUI data, Vermont experienced an astonishing 87.5 percent increase in DUI-related traffic deaths from Year 1 to Year 2 of the studied data. While 15 deaths is far less than other, more populous states, this single-year increase is alarming.

Best: Massachusetts had the best number, registering an impressive decrease of 32.9 percent from year to year.

Highest & Lowest Number of Fatalities

Worst: Given Texas’s large size and population, the state’s 0.38 percent rate of DUI-related deaths, as compared with total traffic deaths is low. However, the 1,323 deaths that did occur as a result of drinking and driving is disturbing. On a positive note, the state boasted an 8.5 decline in traffic deaths caused from drinking-related situations from Year 1 to Year 2.

Best: Vermont actually had the lowest number of fatalities across the 50 states, but given its population and very low level of DUI-related problems in the past, the 15 deaths it recorded during the sample period caused a substantial uptick, on a percentage basis.

Highest Rate of DUIs vs All Total Traffic Deaths

Worst: The small state of Rhode Island reported the highest rate of deaths related to DUIs, reporting in at 0.43 percent.

Best: With only 0.16 percent of traffic deaths related to DUI situations, Utah reported the best number in this category.

Highest and Lowest DUI Rate (per 100,000 People)

Worst: As stated previously, Wyoming’s low population caused it to rate the worst in this category.

Best: New Jersey had the best numbers, weighing in with 1.24 DUI-related deaths per 100,000. This state also experienced a solid decline of 31.1 percent from year to year.

Highest & Lowest Percentage of Adults Who Reported Drinking Too Much

Worst: North Dakota reported the highest percentage of adults who reported drinking too much before driving—3.4 percent.

Best: West Virginia, on the other hand, registered only 0.5 percent of adults fell into this category.

Where Does California Fall in the DUI Ratings?

According to the data, California was ranked #32, meaning 18 states ranked better, while 31 states ranked worse. California reported a total of 914 DUI-related fatalities—0.29 percent of the total number of traffic deaths. The state saw an increase of 4.3 percent and registered 2.33 DUI deaths per 100,000 people. During the term of the data, 141,458 people were arrested for DUIs, and 1.9 percent of adults admitted to drinking too much before driving.

This data is telling. No matter how good or bad a state’s statistics are, even one DUI-related death is too many. If you’ve been drinking, hail a driving service, stay with a friend, or find another solution. You don’t want to be part of any of these statistics!

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, it’s best to hire an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Jon Artz is an expert DUI lawyer who helped write the book on DUI defense over his more than 40 years of experience. You can reach Jon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (310) 820-1315, or fill out an online form today.

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