There were almost 12,000 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2011. 37 percent of these drunk driver-fault deaths occurred in just five of the nation’s top 10 most populated states. It is clear that these states need to take additional measures to keep drunk drivers off of the road, and some of them have placed a large emphasis on education and enforcement. Sadly, this did not stop almost 4,100 people from dying needlessly in 2011.
The Five Highest Rated DUI States
1. Texas – Although Texas has the second highest population in the country, it is the worst state for DUI-related deaths. In fact, 1,450 people died in 2011 as a result of traffic accidents that involved impaired drivers, and this is a 64 percent increase over California. Sadly, Texas lawmakers do not seem to be interested in helping the police with the enforcement of anti-DUI laws because they have banned the usage of DUI checkpoints. Additionally, interlock ignition devices are not utilized until someone becomes a repeat offender.
2. California – It is no surprise that the state with the largest population would place high on this list, but the fact that only 924 people died from a DUI-related accident in 2011 is indicative of the state’s commitment to reducing drunk driving. California utilizes DUI checkpoints, and first time offenders will lose their license for 120 days. The state is also testing mandatory interlock ignition devices for all offenders in four counties.
3. Florida – The Sunshine State lost 751 people to alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2011. However, this represents a reduction of more than 150 deaths from 2009, and this showcases the state’s effort to get its DUI problem under control. DUI checkpoints have become a way of life for Floridians, and drivers who have a BAC of .15 or above will receive a mandatory interlock ignition device after their license is reinstated.
4. Pennsylvania – More than 500 lives were lost on Pennsylvania’s roads due to drunk drivers in 2011, and this encouraged law enforcement officials to become more vigilant. DUI checkpoints are utilized in high-risk areas, and drivers who are caught with a BAC of .16 or higher will be given stricter penalties. Additionally, any driver who becomes a repeat offender will be forced to use an interlock ignition device. Along with most states, the DUI laws in Pennsylvania could still be tightened a little.
5. North Carolina – There are five states with a larger population than North Carolina that have a lower DUI-related fatality count, and this indicates that lawmakers need to consider increasing the legal ramifications of a DUI. In 2011, 453 people died at the hands of a drunk driver, but there is no mandatory license suspension for first time offenders who have a BAC below .15. By tightening up the law and enforcing more DUI checkpoints, it is possible for North Carolina to fall off of this undesirable top five list.
It is important to be aware that alcohol-related traffic fatalities occur in every state. In other words, even if you reside in an area that has less of an issue with DUIs, it is still imperative to remain alert at all times. Additionally, you should strongly consider the legal consequences before you make the decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
Author Anthony Joseph enjoys writing about all different areas of the legal system, including the fight against drunk driving fatalities . DUI attorney Steven E. Kellis has been practicing law for at least 20 years, and is very experienced with the DUI laws in Pennsylvania. He’s a former prosecuting DUI attorney in the state of Pennsylvania, and uses his knowledge to strenuously represent any client charged with DUI regardless of the circumstances.