Worst states for drunk-driving deaths

car accident

A new study indicates that Connecticut and Texas have the highest percentage of fatal car crashes involving drunk drivers. The data suggests that in Texas, more than four out of every 10 fatal crashes (40.8%) over a four-year period involved a driver found to have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of more than 0.08 g/dL, which is the legal limit in the U.S.

In Connecticut, out of 1,983 drivers involved in fatal crashes, 809 (also 40.8%) were impaired. In both states, drivers in more than a quarter of fatal crashes registered BAC levels that surpassed 0.15 g/dL, which is close to double the legal limit and a point where motor function, speech, and judgment are all severely affected, along with severe impairment of driving skills.

States ranking after Texas and Connecticut were, in order, Rhode Island (38.5% over the limit), Montana (37.6%) and Washington (34%). In each case, around 25% were at nearly double the legal limit of intoxication..

Nationally, 31% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. In 2021 alone, 13,384 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

At the other end of the spectrum, the study said that states with the lowest percentages of drunk drivers in fatal crashes were Utah, Kentucky, Kansas, Mississippi and West Virginia.

In Utah, for example, the study showed that 19.70% of drivers, or 392 individuals, in a fatal crash had a BAC of .08+ g/dL, and 12.31% a BAC of .15+ g/dL. A total of 1,990 drivers were tested. Kentucky follows with 20.34% at the .08+ g/dL level (1,097 drivers) and 13.85% at the .15+ g/dL level (747 drivers) from a total of 5,392 drivers.

The study from law firm Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers said that it incorporated data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) covering the years 2017 to 2021.

“The data underscores a critical and ongoing issue on our roads: the devastating impact of alcohol impairment on road safety,” said firm member Digger Earles. “It underscores the potential for effective prevention strategies to save lives. At the national level, more than a quarter of all drivers in fatal crashes are over the legal limit, so it’s clear that while progress has been made in some areas, there is still much work to be done to prevent alcohol-related fatalities on our roads,” he said.

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