States With the Most Drunk Driving

Print Email

5. Mississippi
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 6.0
> Total DUI arrests: 10,221 (22nd lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 33.9 gallons (11th highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 22.0% (10th lowest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers total: 14.2% (6th lowest)

Drunk driving in Mississippi is a problem for people above and below the legal drinking age. In 2012, 23 people under the drinking age — 2.6 per 100,000 residents — died in a drunk driving accident, the most per capita nationwide. Overall, state law enforcement arrested or cited more than 4,800 people in 2012 for violating public intoxication laws, one of the highest totals in the U.S. Mississippians also consumed nearly 34 gallons of beer per capita in 2012, among the most in the country. Still, like many states, Mississippi has made progress in fighting drunk driving. Between 2002 and 2012, the total number of deaths due to drunk driving accidents fell by 38%, more than the majority of states.

4. Wyoming
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 6.9
> Total DUI arrests: 4,147 (7th lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 33.0 gallons (15th highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 27.2% (13th highest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 18.9% (19th highest)

Nearly 19% of Wyoming residents said that they engaged in binge drinking over the previous 30 days, while more than 27% of people under the age of 21 said they consumed alcohol in the previous month. Both were among the higher rates in the country in 2012. There were also more than 2,500 arrests made in 2012 for violating public intoxication laws. This was among the higher numbers in the country despite the fact that Wyoming is the nation’s least populous state. Some of that might be explained by the fact that Wyoming’s population has a relatively high rate of college students, and college students tend to drink more heavily and frequently than average adults. In 2012, more than 13,000 students, the equivalent of 2.3% of Wyoming’s total population, attended the University of Wyoming.

ALSO READ: America’s Most Content (and Miserable) Cities

3. South Carolina
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 7.6
> Total DUI arrests: 17,906 (20th highest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 32.7 gallons (16th highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 22.2% (12th lowest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 15.4% (8th lowest)

Nearly 360 people in South Carolina were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2012, many of them minors. In fact, there were 2.8 underage deaths per 100,000 people caused by drunk driving accidents in 2012, sixth highest in the U.S. In general, state residents enjoy drinking. South Carolinians consumed 32.7 gallons of beer per capita in 2012, among the most in the U.S. The state’s law enforcement arrested more than 17,900 people for drunk driving in 2012, one of the higher totals in the U.S.

2. Montana
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 9.0
> Total DUI arrests: 4,418 (9th lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 41.0 gallons (3rd highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 29.7% (7th highest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 19.2% (17th highest)

Montana was among the states with the highest youth consumption of alcohol and the highest rates of binge drinking among underage residents. Sadly, for every 100,000 people in the state, 3.8 underage residents were killed in drunk driving accidents, second highest in the country. Montana residents, on average, drank 41 gallons of beer per capita, more than all but two other states — North Dakota and New Hampshire. Nearly 20% of minors said they engaged in binge drinking over the prior 30 days, sixth highest in the country. In total, 19.2% of state residents said they engaged in binge drinking over the previous month, among the highest percentages in the country.

1. North Dakota
> Drunk driving deaths per 100,000: 10.3
> Total DUI arrests: 5,730 (11th lowest)
> Beer consumption per capita: 45.8 gallons (the highest)
> Pct. of minors consuming alcohol: 32.8% (3rd highest)
> Pct. of binge drinkers: 23.8% (2nd highest)

North Dakota had more deaths from drunk driving accidents per 100,000 residents than any other state in the U.S. in 2012. The number of drunk driving deaths in the state actually rose by 64.2% over the past 10 years ending in 2012, by far the largest increase of any state in the country. The state had the highest number of minors who said they engaged in binge drinking over the previous 30 days. Also, only Wisconsin had a higher percentage of people, in total, who said they engaged in binge drinking over the prior month than North Dakota, which had a total of 23.8%. More than 78% of drunk driving fatalities involved offenders whose blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit in the state. The state aimed to curb the drunk driving problem last year when it passed a bill that doubled the amount of jail time for repeat drunk drivers.