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Is New York the most dangerous drunk driving state?

New Yorkers tend to carry the stigma of being some of the worst drivers in the nation, thus it would follow that they have the most dangerous drunk drivers as well. When carting the kids to the next Saturday night movie, drivers can rest assured that New York is not topping the nation, according to a recent study.

Taking into consideration the cost of drunk driving fatalities, the percentage of fatalities that involved alcohol, the rate of DUI arrests, the statutes in place against drunk drivers and penalties, researchers discovered that New York performed about average, ranking 26th overall.

Looking at three different factors used in the weighted score (bigger numbers are better), what is New York doing better than its neighbors, and where is there room for improvement?

  • DUI arrests: When reviewing how many drunk drivers are put behind bars, New York is doing well. They are ranked 7th in the nation for the number of arrests per million residents at 10.75 for the weighted score. All those annoying check points and swarms of cruisers that appear when the bars let out are doing their jobs. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania puts less than half as many offenders behind bars with only a weighted score of 4.5.
  • Fatalities: New York's neighbor Connecticut ranked fourth in the nation for number of fatalities involving alcohol vs. regular fatalities, scoring just 1.40. New York is faring better than most, but there is always room for improvement. The score of 5.25 puts one of the most densely populated states at just fifteenth.
  • DUI Penalties: Thanks to the New York legislature, New York has tough laws designed to discourage repeat offenders through suspensions jail time, and education. There is still some room for improvement, as they sit as only the fifteenth toughest drunk driving law state.

Where is the most dangerous drunk driving state?

You might think this dubious award would be given to a tourist heavy destination like Florida or California. Surprisingly not. Some of the least densely populated and lowest transient areas of the nation have the most trouble when it comes to DUI.

North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota earned the top three slots in the study. Perhaps wide-open spaces with few traffic signals and minimal coverage for law enforcement combine to entice an intoxicated individual the opportunity to be the least responsible.

When buckling the kids into the back seat for a trip into the city on a holiday weekend, feel a little safer knowing that New York works hard to protect the families traveling its roads. It takes only one driver to cause an accident, but maybe the majority of our drivers are just getting a bad rap.

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