Drunk driving is the deadliest and most often committed crime in the U.S. and results in over 10,000 preventable deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Despite falling below 10,000 for the first time in years in 2011, drunk driving fatalities were back up to over 10,000 in 2012, telling us that we have a long way to go in the battle to end drunk driving.
While the problem of drunk driving is widespread throughout the U.S., some states have a bigger drunk driving problem than others. Using data from the NHTSA and 2012 state population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. determined the 10 states with highest drunk driving fatalities, based on the number of DUI fatalities per 100,000 people. North Dakota came in at number one with 10.3 drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people. The state also had the largest increase in drunk driving fatalities, which rose by about 64% between 2002 and 2012.
24/7 Wall St. also found that most drunk driving fatalities that occurred in these 10 states involved drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of at least twice the legal limit of 0.08. OKlahoma and North Dakota had the highest percentages of drunk driving fatalities involving DUI offenders with a BAC of at least twice the legal limit at 78.6% and 78.3%, respectively. Many of the top 10 states also had some of the highest percentages of underage drinkers and binge drinkers.
24/7 Wall St. also investigated why these 10 states have the most drunk driving fatalities, and compiled a few theories based on other statistics. For starters, each of the 10 states also had higher per capita consumption of beer than the U.S. overall, according to data from the Beer Institute. North Dakota was highest with a per capita beer consumption rate of 45.8 gallons. Many of the top 10 states also have some of the most miles of public roads, making drunk driving harder to enforce. For example, Texas, which ranked number ten, has 313,210 miles of public roads. Nearly 100,000 miles of those roads are in sparsely populated rural areas.
Here’s the full list of the top 10 states with the most drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 people:
- North Dakota: 10.3 DUI deaths per 100,000 people
- Montana: 9
- South Carolina: 7.6
- Wyoming: 6.9
- Mississippi: 6
- Oklahoma: 5.4
- Alabama: 5.3
- South Dakota: 5.3
- West Virginia: 5.1
- Texas: 5
For more drunk driving, binge drinking, and other alcohol-related statistics on each of the 10 states, head over to 247wallst.com.