Last year was the safest on record for alcohol-impaired driving incidents since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began reporting data on these fatalities in 1982. However, despite a 5.3% decrease, alcohol impairment still causes more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. This means that 10,142 Americans lost their lives on the road in a drunk driving accident in 2019.
Deaths caused by drunk driving are the most preventable traffic-related fatalities. Yet as alcohol consumption rates keep rising, impaired Americans continue to climb behind the wheel. Early reporting indicates that binge drinking rates surged in 2020 as well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We analyzed the latest data to compile a list of the worst states for drunk driving using data from NHTSA, the Census Bureau and the FBI. While each state has a different response to drunk driving offenses, we did uncover some trends.
We found that:
- Wyoming ranked worst for drunk driving problems and had more fatalities per 100,000 people than any other state.
- North Dakota was the state with the most DUIs, trailed by South Dakota and Wyoming.
- The four most dangerous states (Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Idaho) for drunk driving share the same geographic region.
- The three least dangerous states also share a geographic region: District of Columbia had the fewest drunk driving issues, followed by New York and Pennsylvania.