Drunk driving is a problem nationwide, but some states have more drunk driving problems than others. Several governmental and non-profit organizations make it their business to track drunk driving deaths, drunk driving arrests, and more. So we can get a pretty good picture of who fits in where.
In the 2017 report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on drunk driving, they rank every state based on how many people died in drunk driving accidents total, and how many per capita (per 100,000) died as a result of drunk driving in a year. The number of fatalities includes drunk drivers themselves, their passengers, and the other people involved in the accident. Across the whole United States in 2017, 12,853 people died in drunk driving accidents.
States with the Most Drunk Driving Fatalities
Not surprisingly, the states with a higher population top this list. They include:
- Texas with 1,468 drunk driving deaths
- California with 1,120 drunk driving deaths
- Florida with 839 drunk driving deaths
By contrast, the states with the fewest drunk driving fatalities were:
#50 New York
#51 New Jersey
The figures include the District of Columbia, so that’s why there are 51 rankings. Those states with the fewest number of drunk driving fatalities also have among the highest fines and penalties for drunk driving.
States with the Highest Per Capita Rate of Drunk Driving Deaths
In that same report, the NTSB statistics show the per capita (per 100,000) rate of drunk driving deaths. The results were:
- Wyoming 7.9 deaths per 100,000
- South Carolina 6.22 per 100,000
- North Dakota 6.08
Wyoming’s population is only about 600,000, so their ratio is high based on their lower population numbers. Specifically, they had 45 drunk driving deaths in the whole state in 2017. Interestingly, drunk driving penalties for first-time offenders are a little laxer in Wyoming.
First-time offenders can avoid all penalties, including license suspension, jail time and ignition interlock device requirements. Wyoming has a “probation before sentencing” program that first-time offenders convicted of DUI to immediately enter a one-year probation period. When he/she completes an alcohol treatment program and stays out of legal trouble, the courts will remove the conviction from the record.
Drunk Driving Is on the Decrease
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving deaths have fallen more than 30% over the last three decades. That decrease is due to several things, including:
- Public Awareness Campaigns
- Stricter DUI / DWI Laws
- Zero Tolerance Laws for Drivers Under 21
- Increased Number of States Requiring Ignition Interlock Devices
Ignition Interlock Devices Stop Drunk Drivers
Let’s take a look at that last point above. All 50 states have ignition interlock laws on the books, and 32 states require a mandatory ignition interlock device after a DUI / DWI, including a first offense. All states define drunk driving as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or above.
A 2017 report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says that ignition interlock devices have stopped more than 2.3 million people from driving drunk since 2006. Those figures are based on reports from all states where IIDs locked out drivers who blew into the devices and were prevented from starting their cars because they had alcohol on their breath.
And a study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has more good news about the use of IIDs to reduce drunk driving and drunk driving deaths. The study crunched the numbers from across the United States and reports:
- Ignition interlock device laws reduce drunk driving accident fatalities
- Laws requiring IIDs for ALL drunk driving offenders resulted in a 7% decrease in the number of drunk driving crashes involving a fatality
- Laws requiring interlock devices for a first time DUI where the driver had a high BAC of .15 or more were linked to an 8% reduction in the number of fatal drunk driving accidents
As an industry leader in ignition interlock device technology, ALCOLOCK is heartened to see some of these statistics. Our goal is to help keep drunk drivers off the road. We want to help you succeed in your restricted driving program, and get your life back to normal.
ALCOLOCK Is on Your Side 24/7
At ALCOLOCK, we’re with you 24/7. If you need to get an ignition interlock device installed, call us at 866-700-9300, or visit our locations page and call the service center most convenient to you. You can also use our contact form. In most cases, we can get you back on the road with an IID installed in your vehicle within 48 hours of your initial call.