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The Highest Drunk Driving Fatality Rates in the United States [Interactive Map]

Which states have the highest fatality rate in the country? The map below compares drunk driving fatality rates per 100,000 population for each state in the United States, ranking them from highest to lowest. Using data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for the 2018 year (the newest data available), we analyzed over 34,000 fatal crashes and looked only at crashes where alcohol was a factor. In total, nearly 25% of all fatal crashes in 2018 involved the use of alcohol.

In this interactive map below, you can hover over any state to see the corresponding drunk driving fatality rate, along with its current ranking from 1-51 (1 being the highest (worst) fatality rate and 51 being the lowest (best) rate).

2018 Alcohol-Involved Crash Fatality Rates by State

In 2018, Montana had the highest alcohol-involved crash fatality rate with 8.28 deaths per 100,000 people – a total of 88 fatalities as a result of crashes involving the use of alcohol. Wyoming ranks second with a rate of 6.06 fatalities per capita, while South Carolina follows closely behind with a rate of 5.74.

As far as the lowest rates in the nation? The District of Columbia is at the bottom, with just 0.77 fatalities per 100,000. This is followed by New York with a 1.11 rate, and New Jersey with 1.35 fatalities per capita.

State Fatals 2018 Rate 2018 Fatals 2017 Rate 2017 Rate Change
MONTANA 88 8.28 72 6.78 22.22%
WYOMING 35 6.06 43 7.44 -18.60%
SOUTH CAROLINA 292 5.74 329 6.47 -11.25%
SOUTH DAKOTA 48 5.44 43 4.87 11.63%
NEW MEXICO 110 5.25 115 5.49 -4.35%
LOUISIANA 228 4.89 255 5.47 -10.59%
ARKANSAS 143 4.74 134 4.45 6.72%
ALABAMA 227 4.64 246 5.03 -7.72%
NORTH DAKOTA 33 4.34 51 6.71 -35.29%
ALASKA 32 4.34 22 2.98 45.45%
OKLAHOMA 159 4.03 171 4.34 -7.02%
MISSISSIPPI 120 4.02 132 4.42 -9.09%
WISCONSIN 226 3.89 230 3.96 -1.74%
MISSOURI 235 3.84 258 4.21 -8.91%
NORTH CAROLINA 394 3.79 400 3.85 -1.50%
KENTUCKY 167 3.74 204 4.57 -18.14%
COLORADO 211 3.70 211 3.70 0.00%
NEBRASKA 71 3.68 75 3.89 -5.33%
VERMONT 22 3.51 21 3.35 4.76%
NEW HAMPSHIRE 47 3.46 27 1.99 74.07%
IDAHO 59 3.36 71 4.05 -16.90%
WEST VIRGINIA 60 3.32 79 4.37 -24.05%
MAINE 42 3.14 50 3.74 -16.00%
TEXAS 910 3.12 1008 3.45 -9.72%
TENNESSEE 210 3.10 245 3.62 -14.29%
FLORIDA 652 3.06 705 3.31 -7.52%
OREGON 124 2.96 150 3.58 -17.33%
MICHIGAN 294 2.94 350 3.50 -16.00%
VIRGINIA 250 2.94 242 2.84 3.31%
DELAWARE 28 2.90 28 2.90 0.00%
ARIZONA 205 2.86 259 3.61 -20.85%
GEORGIA 296 2.81 319 3.03 -7.21%
OHIO 326 2.79 368 3.15 -11.41%
NEVADA 83 2.74 80 2.64 3.75%
IOWA 78 2.47 90 2.85 -13.33%
ILLINOIS 309 2.43 358 2.81 -13.69%
KANSAS 70 2.40 91 3.13 -23.08%
CALIFORNIA 920 2.31 1169 2.93 -21.30%
PENNSYLVANIA 291 2.27 281 2.19 3.56%
INDIANA 150 2.24 179 2.67 -16.20%
UTAH 70 2.21 63 1.99 11.11%
WASHINGTON 165 2.19 180 2.39 -8.33%
RHODE ISLAND 23 2.18 29 2.74 -20.69%
MARYLAND 131 2.17 172 2.85 -23.84%
MINNESOTA 119 2.12 107 1.91 11.21%
HAWAII 30 2.11 41 2.89 -26.83%
CONNECTICUT 68 1.90 109 3.05 -37.61%
MASSACHUSETTS 115 1.67 107 1.55 7.48%
NEW JERSEY 120 1.35 134 1.50 -10.45%
NEW YORK 217 1.11 188 0.96 15.43%
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 5 0.71 14 1.99 -64.29%

Year-Over-Year Changes in Alcohol-Involved Crash Fatality Rates

These rankings accurately reflect the result of year-over-year changes in alcohol-involved crash fatalities and their corresponding rates per capita. In 2017, Wyoming had the highest alcohol-involved crash fatality rate in the United States. However, a significant decrease in alcohol-involved crash fatalities led to an 18.60% decrease in rate, bumping it down to second place. The inverse occurred with Montana: an increase in alcohol-involved fatalities in 2018 led to a 22.22% increase in rate.

Overall, alcohol-involved crash fatality rates have, for the most part, decreased from that of the previous year: only 13 states reported an increase in rates from 2017 to 2018.

Notable positive changes to alcohol-involved crash fatality rate include:

  • Washington, D.C. – the largest rate decrease in the nation with a 64.29% decrease in alcohol-involved crash fatalities per capita.
  • Connecticut – a 37.61% decrease in alcohol-involved crash fatality rate
  • North Dakota – a 35.29% decrease
  • Hawaii – a 26.83% decrease

Notable negative changes to alcohol-involved crash fatality rate include:

  • New Hampshire – the largest rate increase in the nation, and the most dramatic change on the list, with a 74.07% increase. This increase in alcohol-involved crash fatalities is enough to take New Hampshire from the bottom ten in 2017 to 20th place in 2018.
  • Alaska – a year-over-year increase of 10 alcohol-involved crash fatalities resulted in a 45.45% increase in rate, the third highest change on the list.

Common Penalties for Drunk Driving

Due to the severity of the offense, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol always comes with a harsh set of penalties for offenders. Those who are caught driving while intoxicated may:

  • Pay a fine. Depending on the number of offenses and severity of the offense, those caught with a DUI can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 – and more if you are a repeat offender.
  • Receive jail time. A first-offense DUI is a misdemeanor that can come with up to six months in jail. This may increase in severity depending on repeat offenses or how high your BAC was at the time of the offense.
  • Have your driver’s license suspended or revoked. It’s customary to have your driver’s license suspended for a period of time following a DUI. Depending on the state and the circumstances, your license may be suspended for as little as 90 days or for as long as three years. In extreme circumstances, such as repeated offenses, your license may even be completely revoked.
  • Require an installation of an ignition interlock device. This device, installed in your vehicle, monitors your BAC before driving your vehicle. If you have consumed alcohol, you will be unable to start your car.
  • Experience dramatically increased insurance rates. Because drunk driving creates higher liability to a provider, it may cause your premiums to rise significantly.
  • Have other consequences. This can include court-mandated community service, alcohol prevention programs, and possible assessment of addiction problems. Additionally, having a DUI on your record may even disqualify you from certain forms of employment which require a clean driving record.

Much of these laws and subsequent consequences serve to emphasize the fact that driving while intoxicated is an incredibly dangerous action that can come with severe, life-altering consequences.

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