April 28th, 2016
USA Today has published a graphic showing the results of a survey of US drunk driving, based on a scoring system involving DUI fatalities, arrests and penalties. Both weather and generally high levels of alcohol consumption contribute to elevated levels of drunk driving accidents and arrests in the northern states of the West and Midwest. According to the rankings, produced by an insurance comparison website, North Dakota ranks first for both drunk driving arrests and fatalities.
Straightforwardly enough, overall levels of alcohol consumption are higher than average in the states with the most accidents: A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that Idaho, the Dakotas and Wisconsin have the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the US.
Montana has also recently seen a dramatic spike in alcohol-related driving fatalities, with 33 in January, February and March this year—a massive increase from the same period in 2015. Weather conditions probably factor prominently into this.
“I think that the combination of higher than average alcohol consumption and a higher chance of running into dangerous driving conditions with sleet, snow, and ice during the winder months could be the reason that we’re seeing so many of those northern states rank poorly,”said Tyler Spraul, who directed the survey that produced the graphic.
Unsurprisingly Utah, which is predominantly Mormon, boasts the nation’s lowest number of drunk driving incidents.