States With the Most Drunk Driving

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10. Texas
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 5.0
> Total DUI arrests: 85,436 (2nd highest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 34.4 gallons (9th highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 22.4% (14th lowest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 18.9% (19th highest)

Nearly 1,300 people in Texas died in drunk driving accidents in 2012, more than in any other state. While underage drinking is not as prevalent in the state as in many others, Texas’ sheer size means serious drinking-related incidents are quite common. In 2012 , 3,610 young adults under 21 were arrested for violating the state’s underage drinking laws, among the most in America. In 2012, 169 people under the age of 21 died in drunk driving accidents in Texas, more than in any other state. Overall, Texas law enforcement officers arrested 85,436 people for drunk driving that year, more than in any other state except for California.

9. West Virginia
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 5.1
> Total DUI arrests: 5,654 (10th lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 30.3 gallons (20th highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 26.9% (15th highest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 10.1% (2nd lowest)

A higher percentage of residents in West Virginia under the legal drinking age engaged in binge drinking than in all but three other states. The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four to five alcoholic beverages on one occasion. While the number of underage fatalities due to drunk driving in the state has dropped by 64.2% between 2002 and 2012, the state was still among the worst for fatalities per 100,000 people in 2012. That year, there were nearly 2 deaths per 100,000 people caused by underage drinking and driving. Additionally, the state’s drunk driving laws do not seem to deter offenders from repeating the crime. Last year, 77% drunk driving accidents were caused by drivers with a 0.15% BAC or higher.

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8. South Dakota
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 5.3 (tied, 7th highest)
> Total DUI arrests: 5816 (12th lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 38.9 gallons (4th highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 26.3% (17th highest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 22.1% (6th highest)

South Dakota had the fourth-highest gallons per capita consumption of beer in 2012, after North Dakota, New Hampshire and Montana. Drunk driving also had a large impact on the state’s younger residents. There were 4.5 underage deaths caused by drunk driving per 100,000 residents, the highest rate in the nation. More than 26% of people between 12- and 20-years old consumed alcohol, and more than 19% of minors engaged in binge drinking within the preceding 30 days, both among the highest in the country. Despite numerous anti-drunk driving and public intoxication laws, 22.1% of the state population engaged in binge drinking within the prior 30 days, one of the highest percentages in the U.S.

7. Alabama
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 5.3 (tied, 7th highest)
> Total DUI arrests: 286 (the lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 30.2 gallons (22nd highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 20.4% (5th lowest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 13.7% (4th lowest)

Underage Alabamians were actually less likely than underage Americans elsewhere to consume alcohol or binge drink. Still, the state had among the highest number of fatalities involving under 21-year olds in drunk driving accidents. The number of underage residents killed in drunk driving accidents in 2012 was 36, or 2.7 per 100,000 people. Both were among the highest in the U.S. After passing tougher underage drinking laws in 2011, Alabama had the fewest arrests for driving under the influence in 2012, at just 286. Between 2002 and 2012, underage fatalities from drunk driving accidents fell by more than 30%. In 2011, Governor Robert Bentley enacted an interlock ignition law, which places a breathalyzer on the dashboard of repeat offenders’ cars. The device will not allow the driver to start the car if it senses alcohol.

6. Oklahoma
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 5.4
> Total DUI arrests: 13,801 (23rd highest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 28.3 gallons (20th lowest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 22.3% (13th lowest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 16.5% (12th lowest)

Oklahoma’s drunk driving problem has seen little improvement over the decade ending in 2012. While Oklahoma manages to curb underage drinking relatively well, the number of drunk driving fatalities among drinking-age adults decreased by just 5.3% over the 10 years ending in 2012, a far lower decline than in most other states. Current anti-drunk driving laws do not seem to be effective at deterring drunk drivers in the state, as nearly 79% of all drunk driving fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.15% — well above the legal limit of 0.08%.This is despite the fact that the state has an “aggravated DUI” law that imposes harsher penalties on drunk drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or more.