States With the Toughest (and Most Lenient) Drunk Driving Laws

Print Email

More than 10,000 Americans were killed in 2015 in car crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That’s more than 29% of all 32,092 traffic deaths in 2015.

In 2010, the last year for which the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has data, the economic cost of all 2.27 million fatal and non-fatal crashes totaled $242 billion and the comprehensive costs — which includes quality of life valuations — totaled $836 billion. Of that total, alcohol-impaired economic costs totaled $44 billion (18.2% of the total) and alcohol-impaired comprehensive costs totaled $201 billion (24% of the total).

Researchers at WalletHub noted some good news, however. Drunk-driving fatalities have dropped by 57% between 1982 and 2014. Much of the improvement is down to tougher state laws on drunk driving.

WalletHub’s researchers looked at 15 metrics in order to identify the states with the strictest and most lenient laws related to “driving under the influence” (DUI). They then combined that score with a “prevention rank” to yield an overall ranking.

The 10 states with the toughest overall rankings and their scores (out of 100) are:

  • Arizona: 84.09%
  • Georgia: 70.45%
  • Alaska: 65%
  • Kansas: 64.09%
  • Oklahoma: 64.09%
  • Nebraska: 61.82%
  • Connecticut: 60.91%
  • Utah: 60.45%
  • Delaware: 55.91%
  • West Virginia: 54.55%

The 10 states that ranked as the most lenient were:

  • South Dakota: 20.45%
  • District of Columbia: 22.27%
  • Ohio: 28.64%
  • North Dakota: 29.55%
  • Idaho: 29.55%
  • Maryland: 30.00%
  • New Jersey: 30.45%
  • Pennsylvania: 30.91%
  • Michigan: 30.91%
  • Vermont: 33.64%

For full details and methodology, visit the WalletHub website.