Key Findings:

  • Drunk driving fatalities nationwide decreased 18% overall from 2000 to 2017.
  • 43 states nationwide saw a decrease in drunk driving fatalities from 2000 to 2017.
  • Minnesota, West Virginia and Alaska saw the biggest decrease in drunk driving fatalities from 2000 to 2017.
  • Oregon, Wyoming, California, Maryland, North Dakota and Maine are the only states that saw increases in drunk driving fatalities.
  • Seattle saw a 10% decrease in DUI arrests after Uber launch.
  • California reported a 6.5% decrease in alcohol-related crashes after Uber launch.

decreasefatalityrates

One-third of all traffic fatalities in the US involve a drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. That’s over 10,000 fatalities caused by drunk drivers in 2017 alone. However, drunk driving fatalities are on a downward trend across the county. An 18% decrease nationwide is a positive trend, but any number of drunk driving fatalities are too many.

The overall trend can be attributed to a number of factors, but local enforcement and awareness campaigns such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over are big reasons. 43 states have seen a decrease in drunk driving fatalities since 2000. In states with less DUI fatalities, law enforcement’s efforts to catch drunk drivers plus harsher penalties for drunk driving are leading reasons for lower fatality rates. The introduction of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also helping keep drunk drivers off the roads. We here at QuoteWizard wanted to see which states have seen the biggest decrease in drunk driving fatalities.

Rankings

We analyzed NHTSA drunk driving fatality data to see which states had the biggest decrease in drunk driving fatality rates from 2000 to 2017. States are ranked based on the largest decrease in DUI fatality rates. Drunk driving fatality data is based on the total number of fatal accidents where drivers had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08+.

Rank (largest decrease) State Fatalities in 2000 Fatalities in 2017 Rate of Fatalities
1 Minnesota 213 85 -60.09%
2 West Virginia 159 72 -54.72%
3 Alaska 46 22 -52.17%
4 Mississippi 302 148 -50.99%
5 South Dakota 67 35 -47.76%
6 New Jersey 228 125 -45.18%
7 Montana 100 56 -44.00%
8 Missouri 432 254 -41.20%
9 Pennsylvania 533 314 -41.09%
10 Louisiana 354 212 -40.11%
11 Tennessee 415 251 -39.52%
12 Utah 84 53 -36.90%
13 New Hampshire 42 27 -35.71%
14 Wisconsin 295 190 -35.95%
15 Idaho 88 60 -31.82%
16 Vermont 26 18 -30.77%
17 Ohio 467 333 -28.69%
18 Illinois 488 349 -28.48%
19 Delaware 44 32 -27.27%
20 Alabama 355 268 -24.50%
21 Kansas 135 102 -24.44%
22 Michigan 400 311 -22.25
23 Iowa 113 88 -22.12%
24 Massachusetts 152 120 -21.05%
25 Washington 224 178 -20.53%
26 New Mexico 151 120 -20.52%
27 Arizona 347 278 -19.88%
28 South Carolina 388 313 -19.32%
29 Kentucky 222 181 -18.46%
30 Nevada 108 89 -17.59%
31 Georgia 434 366 -15.66%
32 Arkansas 162 140 -13.58%
33 Virginia 280 246 -12.14%
34 North Carolina 470 413 -12.12%
35 New York 329 295 -10.33%
36 Oklahoma 179 165 -7.82%
37 Colorado 192 177 -7.81%
38 Nebraska 72 67 -6.94%
39 Florida 891 839 -5.83%
40 Connecticut 127 120 -5.51%
41 Indiana 227 220 -3.08%
42 Texas 1499 1468 -2.06%
43 Hawaii 42 42 0.00%
44 Rhode Island 34 34 0.00%
45 Oregon 129 137 6.20%
46 Wyoming 39 44 12.82%
47 California 987 1120 13.47%
48 Maryland 159 186 16.98%
49 North Dakota 37 46 24.32%
50 Maine 39 50 28.21%

Introduction of rideshare reducing drunk driving fatalities

From the year 2000 to 2017, technology has made major advances in consumer services. Smartphones make nearly everything one touch away, including a ride through Uber or Lyft. While ridesharing services are still fairly new and their impact on reducing drunk driving is not strongly correlated, there are still some promising figures that show ridesharing does help reduce drunk driving.

In 2013 when Uber began operations in Seattle, a company study found their entry into the market was associated with a 10% decrease in DUI arrests. Uber’s ridership trends show that demand for rides peak around times when drunk driving accidents occur most. Studies from Temple University and West Carolina University also show the introduction of ridesharing services around the country lead to a decline in fatal accidents.

Affordable and easy to use transportation wasn’t so widely available in 2000, but it’s now common. Technology is playing a role in reducing drunk driving fatalities. The human error and human element of judgement is still similar from 2000 to 2017. Now we’re able to leverage technology to avoid situations where we’re getting behind the wheel drunk.

Methodology

QuoteWizard analysts compared NHTSA drunk driving fatality data to find the rate of drunk driving fatalities in each state from the year 2000 to 2017. States are ranked based on the largest decrease in drunk driving fatality rates over the same time period. Drunk driving fatality data is based on the total number of fatal accidents where drivers had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08+.