Which state has the highest drunk driving rate?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2023 | Drunk Driving Charges

The states with the most drunk drivers are typically the states with the highest populations. Texas, New York and California tend to be near the top of lists like this simply because far more people live there than in states like Wyoming or South Carolina. Bigger populations are going to produce more drunk drivers just because there are more people on the roads.

As such, it can be helpful – from a public safety standpoint – to assess and compare how many drunk drivers there are for every 100,000 drivers within a given state. By evaluating drunk drivers per capita, you can actually compare the states to one another with some level of accuracy. When such calculations are made, which state has the highest rate of DUI charges, and where does South Carolina rank?

Montana tops the list

At the very top of the list is Montana, with just over 478 DUIs for every 100,000 licensed drivers. Montana is also one of the lowest population states in the country, indicating exactly why the per capita numbers are important. There are more people in single cities in California or New York than there are in the entirety of Montana. But the drunk driving rate, or at least the rate at which DUI charges are given out, is very high in this state, which says something about the prevalence of the problem there, the state’s commitment to enforcement or both.

South Carolina ranks seventh

Interestingly, South Carolina has the seventh-highest DUI rate in the country. There are just over 289 DUIs for every 100,000 drivers. This is actually much higher than some of its neighboring states, such as Georgia, which ranks 40th, or North Carolina, which ranks 16th. South Carolina is something of an outlier along the whole eastern seaboard, at least until you get all the way up to Maine, which ranks eighth.

What does this mean for you?

It is important to note that the statistics are not necessarily ranking the rate of drunk driving, but the rate at which DUI charges are filed. So, this rate could simply have something to do with how strict the drunk driving laws are within the state, how much funding has been allocated to enforcement, etc.

Regardless, if you do find yourself facing drunk driving charges, it’s quite important for you to know about all of the legal options that you have at your disposal, given how frequently such charges are prosecuted in South Carolina. A DUI conviction can have a massive impact on your finances and your future, and you need to know what steps to take. Speaking with an experienced legal professional can provide this clarity.

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