Affirming what we’ve all guessed at by now, a new report ranked Texas the fourth-worst state for drunk driving. This confirmation comes courtesy of a study by Buy Auto Insurance, a third-party resource for information on auto insurance.
Researchers analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the 10 worst states for drunk driving. Researchers gathered the drunk driving traffic deaths for all states between 2016 and 2018 from the NHTSA and the corresponding populations of those states for the same years from the Census Bureau.
Then, they created a per capita statistic — drunk driving traffic deaths per 100,000 in-state residents — which was used to determine the ranking. The higher the number of deaths per capita, the higher a particular state was ranked.
The study determined that Mississippi had the highest rate per capita for drunk driving traffic deaths at 8.77 per 100,000 residents. South Carolina, with a per capita drunk driving death rate of 8.4 per 100,000 residents and New Mexico, with a per capita drunk driving death rate of 7.94 per 100,000 residents, were close behind. Ranked fourth, Texas reported 5,129 drunk driving traffic deaths between 2016 and 2018 and a per capita drunk driving death rate of 7.76 per 100,000 residents.
The study noted that Houston is one of the worst cities for drunk driving in the country and warned that “If you’re traveling through there, be aware.” Unfortunately, the study offered no guidance for those of who live here.
Although the national number of drunk driving traffic deaths declined during the study’s three-year period between 2016 and 2018, three of the 10 worst states -- Arizona, Arkansas and Alabama -- actually saw increases in traffic fatalities involving an impaired driver. Fortunately, Texas recorded a 3.6 percent decline in the number of drunk driving traffic deaths between 2016 and 2018. No, it’s not more than the national decline, but it is progress.
In case you were wondering, Delaware was ranked last on the list of worst states for drunk drivers, reporting just 41 cumulative drunk driving traffic deaths over a three-year period and repping a drunk driving traffic deaths per capita rate of 1.37, the only state below 2.0, according to the study.
Here are the 10 worst states for drunk driving, according to the study:
2. South Carolina
3. New Mexico
8. North Carolina
Read the full study here.