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Drunk Driving Deaths by State

According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a total of 10,874 fatalities in motor vehicles involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 g/dL (grams per deciliter) or higher in 2017.

In short, drunk drivers accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities for the year with an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes.

Given this information, we wondered what the patterns in these fatalities were and which age groups have the most drunk-driving fatalities. Along with this, we wanted to know if men or women are more likely to end up as a drunk driving fatality and what types of vehicles feature the most in drunk driving fatalities.

To answer these questions and more, we dove into data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with some interesting results.

Drunk Driving Fatalities by State

Drunk driving fatalities by state map

Looking across the country, we can see that California has the most drunk-driving fatalities with 1,120 incidents in 2017 alone. Following closely behind are Florida and North Carolina with 839 and 413 drunk driving fatalities, respectively.

Interestingly, when looking at driving fatalities as a whole, the state with the highest percentage of drunk driving fatalities is Connecticut with 84% of all driving fatalities being drunk driving related.

Vermont, on the other hand, seems to be the safest state with only 18 drink driving fatalities in 2017.

Drunk Driving Fatalities by Age

Drunk driving fatalities by age chart

When we look into drunk driving fatalities by age group, we can see that 25 to 34-year-olds make up 28% of all drunk driving fatalities, the most out of any age group.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people aged 75+ have the least drunk driving fatalities with only 1.9% of all drunk driving fatalities.

Drunk Driving Fatalities by Gender

Drunk driving fatalities by gender infographic

Looking at drunk driving fatalities by gender, women seem to be drinking and driving a lot less than males – male drunk driving fatalities accounting for 80.4% of all fatalities.

Drunk Driving Fatalities by Vehicle Type

Drunk driving fatalities by vehicle type graph

The most common vehicle for in drunk driving fatalities? It’s the regular passenger car, comprising 43% of all drunk driving crashes.

Interestingly motorcycles have the highest percentage of drunk driving fatalities with 27% of all fatal motorcycle crashes being drunk driving related.

states with most & least drunk driving fatalities map

If we look at drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 people, Wyoming tops the list for the state with the most drunk-driving fatalities with 7.60 fatalities per 100,000 people. Following closely behind are South Carolina with 6.23 fatalities, North Dakota with 6.09 fatalities, New Mexico with 5.75 fatalities, and Alabama with 5.50 fatalities per 100,000 people.

The Lonestar State has the fewest drunk driving fatalities with only 0.63 per 100,000 people. Other safer driving states include New Jersey with 1.39 fatalities, New York with 1.49, Minnesota 1.52 fatalities, and Utah with 1.71 fatalities per 100,000 people.

Drunk driving and alcohol abuse negatively affects not only the lives of those involved directly but also the family and friends surrounding these individuals. Just like many other chronic diseases, alcoholism can be managed and treated successfully, allowing people to counteract the disruptive and negative effects alcohol has on their behavior so that they can regain control of their lives.

If you know anyone in your life who is suffering from alcoholism, find out more about how you can help.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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