Case Study: DUI Offense Rates By State

Drivers in Hawaii are the most likely to have the highest chance of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to a new case study of DUI offenders in each state. U.S. citizens driving in states of the Midwest follow close behind with frequency of DUI and DWI related offenses.

This broad case study was based on the number of people arrested for DUI statewide in each state, in combination with research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their survey of people across the country. In the CDC research, they asked citizens how many times in the past month they operated a vehicle after they admitted having too much to drink before driving.

The collective results of documented DUI arrests and other people who had admitted drinking and driving, outline quite varying rates of occurrence with driving under the influence numbers. These differences span through states and regions, as well as between male and female drivers. This research shows that drunk and drugged driving continues to be a major cause of accidents and personal injury.

According to another 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 20.7 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year, and 11.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs. (Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving)

These statistics also indicate that men are more likely than women to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, a higher number of younger drivers between 18 to 25 operate a vehicle after taking drugs or drinking alcohol, than adult drivers do over the age of 26.

DUI Case Study - DUI Offenses

In order to get a more complete perspective of just how frequently drunk driving episodes actually take place, the researchers at the CDC examined results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, a random-dialing phone survey which asks individuals questions about their high-risk drinking behavior. From the assessment of the collected data, the researchers were able to estimate that nearly 2% of the population in the United States, or just over 4 million people, drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol the month before they participated in the phone survey.

These updated statistics translate to a staggering number of 120 million DUI incidents nationwide over the span of one year, the researchers concluded.

Notably, there was a large dissimilarity when comparing the DUI and DWI rates among different regions of the country. In the state of Hawaii for example, there were 995 driving under the influence occurrences annually per 1,000 citizens. This rate amounts to nearly one drinking and driving episode for every person in the state. As startling as these numbers are, this certainly does not mean that each person residing or vacationing in the state is guilty of a DUI offense. However by comparison with a much further away region of the country, Utah only had approximately 217 yearly incidents of driving while impaired per 1,000 residents.

The data also shows that people living in the Midwest region of the country, have a much higher chance than the average U.S. citizen living elsewhere to drive while intoxicated, according to this study. In Nebraska, there were 957 annual occurrences per 1,000 people, and North Dakota had 858, while Wisconsin had 839.

Both gender as well as age was a factor the study shows. While science used by toxicologists in past DUI cases have shown how women metabolize alcohol differently than males, in this new research men were responsible of four out of five alcohol related accidents, based on this data. Also, adult drivers of both sexes between ages 21 through 34, had much higher instances than other age categories to drive under the influence of either alcohol, Marijuana, or other types of drugs according to the survey. Furthermore, males within this same age category which only make up approximately 11% of the population in the U.S., counted as a factor of nearly a third of DUI related incidents.

Individuals who admitted to driving while intoxicated also disclosed other forms of their high-risk conduct, such as alcohol binge drinking, texting and driving, along with choosing not to wear a seat belt. Over 80% of drivers who binge drink, also have operated a vehicle under the influence. People who said they did not regularly wear a seat belt, drank and drove nearly 3 times more often when compared to drivers that consistently buckled-up, according to this study.

Each state and local municipalities in the country enact preventative measures to help lower the rate of DUI and DWI offenses and accidents. This typically happens through methods such as conducting DUI checkpoints, also known as “safety checkpoints,” where police look for seat belt and other traffic/vehicle violations as well. In recent years, police enforcement has cracked down harder than ever before under the strict new laws for DUI offenders.

A person who gets convicted for even a first offense, can expect to have a license suspended for a minimum of 6 months, pay a mandatory court fine averaging $1,200 in addition to lawyer fees, and still be required to drive with an ignition interlock installed when a license gets returned. The DUI interlock is a Breathalyzer device mounted in a person’s car, which prevents the engine from starting if the interlock detects the presence of alcohol on a driver’s breath.

The reported numbers of the study as outlined below, are of DUI related incidents per 1,000 citizens in the population of a particular state.

1. Alabama – 540
2. Alaska – 368
3. Arizona – 301
4. Arkansas – 398
5. California – 375
6. Colorado – 479
7. Connecticut – 558
8. Delaware – 730
9. District of Columbia – 409
10. Florida – 539
11. Georgia – 492
12. Hawaii – 994
13. Idaho – 361
14. Illinois – 475
15. Indiana – 433
16. Iowa – 715
17. Kansas – 482
18. Kentucky – 388
19. Louisiana – 811
20. Maine – 324
21. Maryland – 527
22. Massachusetts – 510
23. Michigan – 497
24. Minnesota – 646
25. Mississippi – 398
26. Missouri – 569
27. Montana – 885
28. Nebraska – 957
29. Nevada  – 490
30. New Hampshire – 313
31. New Jersey – 360
32. New Mexico – 275
33. New York – 372
34. North Carolina – 389
35. North Dakota – 858
36. Ohio – 566
37. Oklahoma – 467
38. Oregon – 285
39. Pennsylvania – 701
40. Rhode Island – 522
41. South Carolina – 663
42. South Dakota – 733
43. Tennessee – 465
44. Texas – 703
45. Utah – 217
46. Vermont – 881
47. Virginia – 309
48. Washington – 706
49. West Virginia – 413
50. Wisconsin – 839
51. Wyoming – 811

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