Utah one of the leading states for low levels of drunk driving

Nov 22, 2022, 1:59 PM

trooper speaks to pulled over car, drunk driving is likely during new year's...

FILE: Utah ranks high among the safest areas to live in the U.S. when it comes to drunk driving fatalities. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Forbes Advisor has ranked American states to determine which have the highest number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes. Their results put Utah third in the nation for the lowest rate of drunk driving.

The District of Columbia and New Jersey each ranked higher than Utah when considering this data.

To come to its conclusions, Forbes Advisor studied data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as each state’s Department of Transportation

They found averages from within a five-year range (2016 to 2020) after researching the number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, and the number of licensed drivers in each state.

Then they assigned value to such things as the number of DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers, the number of people killed in crashes involving a drunk driver, etc.

They also conducted an online survey of 5,000 U.S. drivers that owned a car, with at least 100 responses from each state.

Here’s what they learned about Utah drivers:

  • About one in five traffic deaths in Utah in 2020 were caused by a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08 (the legal limit);
  • 4% of traffic deaths were caused by a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 to 0.07, tied for the fourth lowest;
  • Utah had the fourth-lowest number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers;
  • Utah had the fourth-lowest number of people killed in crashes involving a drunk driver per 100,000 state residents;
  • The state tied for the eighth lowest for drunk drivers under age 21 involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers;
  • About one-third of Utah drivers (32%) have seen a friend or family member who appeared intoxicated drive home from a holiday party. 

The study found that the most dangerous states for drunk driving are Montana, Wyoming, Texas, and North Dakota. Idaho is tenth on that list.

Among the findings from Utah’s neighboring states, Forbes Advisor found Wyoming had the sixth-highest number of drunk drivers under age 21 involved in fatal crashes, and that nearly 29% of Idaho traffic deaths in 2020 were caused by a drunk driver

Based on responses from the online survey, more than half of drivers across the U.S. are concerned about getting into an accident while driving during the holidays. Of those respondents, 76% said they were most worried about somebody drinking at a holiday party and then driving.

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Utah one of the leading states for low levels of drunk driving