US Drug Test Centers Blog

DUIs by State: Drunk Driving Incidents Across the US

Posted: May 28 2024

By: Marissa Mix

Every year, about one million arrests are made in the United States for impaired drivers who have consumed alcohol or drugs. However, in reality, this number is probably a lot higher due to impaired driving that's never caught and reported. Whether it stems from peer pressure or inflated confidence that they're not "that drunk," individuals across the nation are still drinking and driving every single day, needlessly leading to traffic deaths.

In this blog, we're looking at drunk driving incidents by state, highlighting the states with the highest and lowest rates. We'll also explore drunk driving fatalities and DUI arrests.

Driving Under the Influence: A Look at DUI Arrests Across States

Important note: Keep in mind that each state has its own regulations and standards for blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

First, let's look at the DUI arrest rate by state.

Based on data from 724,398 car insurance customer inquiries, data from both the FBI and US Census Bureau, and national arrest and population records from 2021, the worst states with the highest rates of DUI arrests (4%) are:

  1. Idaho

  2. Minnesota

  3. North Dakota

  4. Wyoming

This is compared to the national average of 3%.

Cop on motorcycle conducting DUI arrests

What about the states with the lowest DUI arrest rate? Key findings show that several states clocked in at 1%, making them the states with the lowest number of DUI arrests. These include:

  1. Vermont

  2. Texas

  3. South Carolina

  4. Rhode Island

  5. Oklahoma

  6. New York

  7. New Jersey

  8. New Hampshire

  9. Mississippi

  10. Michigan

  11. Maryland

  12. Massachusetts

  13. Louisiana

  14. Illinois

  15. Georgia

  16. Florida

  17. Delaware

  18. Washington, D.C.

  19. Alabama

Drunk Driving Accidents by State

Not every DUI arrest happens alongside a crash. But when considering accidents across the country that happen due to drinking and driving, what are we looking at?

With a national average of 12%, the worst states with the most drunk driving crashes, coming in at 16%, include:

  1. Massachusetts

  2. Ohio

  3. South Carolina

The four states with the fewest accidents caused by impaired driving are:

  1. Michigan (6%)

  2. Hawaii (6%)

  3. New Mexico (8%)

  4. Mississippi (8%)

Some states are seeing improvements in the number of accidents related to drinking and driving, while others are falling behind. For example, between 2020 and 2021, Alaska saw a 100% increase in drunk driving fatalities (meaning how many drunk drivers had a BAC of 0.8 or more and were involved in traffic fatalities).

Washington, D.C., Idaho, Massachusetts, and Delaware recorded 50% increases or more.

Meanwhile, states including Maine, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and West Virginia demonstrated a decrease.

Drunk Driving Deaths Per State

Drunk driving statistics have shown some startling changes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that for the first time in five years, the number of drunk driving deaths rose in 2020 and then again in 2021.

Breaking it down by state, here's how the numbers add up:

  1. Montana (44% of fatal crashes involved legally intoxicated driving — a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater)

  2. Texas (42%)

  3. Washington (39%)

  4. Ohio (39%)

  5. Rhode Island (39%)

The states with the lowest numbers of drunk driving fatalities include:

  1. Mississippi (20%)

  2. Georgia (22%)

  3. West Virginia (23%)

  4. Utah (24%)

  5. Kentucky (24%)

Woman driving drunk in South Dakota

The Most Current Data on Drunk Driving

While we're only halfway through 2024, the most current data available on drunk driving echoes similar research from the past. Forbes determined the worst states for drunk driving based on six key metrics, including the number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers, how many drunk driving arrests per 100,000 licensed drivers were made, the occurrence of traffic fatalities that involved drunk drivers per 100,000 residents in that state, the percentage of traffic deaths caused by drunk drivers who had a BAC of 0.01 to 0.07, the percentage of traffic deaths caused by drunk drivers who had a BAC of 0.08 or higher, and how many drunk drivers younger than 21 years of age were involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers.

Ultimately, every state received a score out of a total of 100. The highest scores for drunk driving (meaning the states that have the worst rates) are:

  1. Montana (100/100)

  2. South Dakota (98.78/100)

  3. Texas (98.66/100)

  4. Wyoming (96.82/100)

  5. North Dakota (87.65/100)

Together, We Can Stop Drunk Driving and Save Lives

The NHTSA says that roughly 32% of fatal crashes in this country involve drunk driving. In 2022 alone, about 13,524 people were killed due to alcohol impairment. Additionally, averaging the numbers out across the 10-year period from 2013 to 2022, approximately 11,000 people die every year because of alcohol-impaired driving.

While some states are seeing improvements in DUI fatalities and alcohol-related arrests, there is still much work to be done. We need continued support from policymakers, and communities must come together to teach young people, in particular, the sometimes fatal dangers of driving under the influence. Only then will we get a true handle on drunk driving and see positive changes in DUI fatalities.

Testing for drugs and alcohol is one effective way to reduce the number of alcohol-related arrests, accidents, and fatalities we see in this country. US Drug Test Centers offers a wide variety of substance abuse testing, including onsite mobile testing, alcohol (EtG) testing as well as breath alcohol testing, and even post-accident testing. We support employers in keeping illicit substances out of the workplace so that everyone can stay safe.

Furthermore, we have more than 20,000 locations across the nation, making it easy to find us, whether you're in North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Wyoming, or beyond.

If you're ready to take the next step, learn more about our employment testing, order a test, or contact us today with any questions. We're standing by to assist you!

Back to the Blog
Share This:   
Our Drug Testing Partners