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While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) latest report shows that overall drunk driving fatalities were down from 2013 to 2014, alcohol-impaired-driving crashes still claimed almost 10,000 lives that year. And while drunk driving is a nation-wide problem, some states have it worse than others.
A deeper dive into the number of fatal crashes that involve alcohol, coupled with DUI arrests, penalties, and state laws on drunk driving shows that certain states may not be doing so well when it comes to reducing the risks associated with impaired driving. Here are the five most dangerous states for drunk driving.
5. South Carolina
The Palmetto State has the third-most alcohol-related driving fatalities in the country. While South Carolina has some of the stiffest DUI penalties, their dearth of drunk driving laws appears to have little deterrent effect on the state's drivers.
A state known for its love of beer and lose zoning ordinances when it comes to where you can put a bar is bound to show up on any drunk driving list. And, apparently, even if you get hit with a DUI charge, Wisconsin's drunk driving penalties are some of the lightest in the country.
Speaking of light penalties, the Gem State is no pearl. Idaho has some of the most lenient drunk driving penalties, despite having one of the highest DUI arrest rates in the nation.
Big sky country is a big mess when it comes to drunk driving. Montana is first in cost per fatality, a comparison of alcohol-related driving fatalities and their burden on taxpayers. The state also has the fewest DUI-related statutes in the country, which is not a one-two punch you want to brag about.
1. North Dakota
The Roughrider State earns its moniker by also coming in first in two ignominious categories. Out of all driving fatalities, North Dakota had the highest percentage attributed to alcohol impairment. And the state also led the way in most DUI arrests as a percentage of the state population. Be careful out there, North Dakotans.
If you've been arrested or charged with a DUI (in one of these states or elsewhere) legal help exists -- you can contact an experienced DUI attorney in your area to discuss your case.