The upper Midwest has the worst drunken-driving rates in the country, according to a government report that says “15% of adult drivers nationally report driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous year.” Really! They admitted to it? Wow.
This report on drunken driving relies on data obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and is based on a scientific random sample of households, asking about 128,000 adults between 2004 and 2006 whether they had driven under the influence in the past year.
Wisconsin leads the way, with government estimates of more than a quarter of the state’s adult drivers having driven drunk. Rounding out the “worst” five are: North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Utah had the lowest national incidence of drunken driving – likely because of the cultural religious influence. A majority of Utah residents are Mormon, and their religion bars the use of alcohol. Utah was the only state where fewer than 10% of adult motorists reported driving under the influence. West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky and North Carolina all had drunken-driving rates for the previous year of less than 11%.
Interestingly, blacks drink at substantially lower rates and at less hazardous rates than whites, according to the report.
In the past decade, the number of drunken drivers involved in alcohol-related crashes has remained relatively stable at a little under 12,400 per year; it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
The federal government has also released estimates of driving under the influence of illicit drugs. The rates for this were highest in Washington D.C., Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, with the lowest rates in New Jersey, Alabama, and North and South Dakota.