The US DUI Report – The States With the Most and Least Drunk Driving

by Zutobi · Updated Aug 08, 2023

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) remains a significant cause of road accidents and fatalities in the United States annually. The data for 2021 indicates a troubling trend, as drunk driving fatalities have unfortunately increased.

In 2021, 13,386 deaths were attributed to drunk driving, accounting for 31% of all road fatalities. This marks the worst year for drunk driving fatalities since 2014. Shockingly, the number of drunk driving deaths has surged by 1,732 (14.8%) compared to 2020, dealing a severe blow to safety advocates and regulators who strive to make our roads safer.

We analyzed the data across all states to understand the variations in DUI accidents, fatalities, and arrests. Through an in-depth examination of the latest available data, we have ranked each state from best to worst, revealing where DUI-related incidents are more frequent.

As we continue our efforts to promote road safety, it is essential to address the issue of drunk driving effectively and implement measures to prevent such tragedies. By identifying the areas with higher incidents of DUI, we can focus our resources and strategies to make a positive impact and save lives on our roads.

Note: Drunk driving statistics take time to collect. This report features the latest data released in April 2023.

How drunk driving fatalities have changed through the years

DUI fatalities have decreased from 41% of all road fatalities in 1985 to 31% in 2021.

As per the NHTSA, a driver with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of 0.08 experiences various impairments, including concentration difficulties, difficulty maintaining speed, impaired perception, impaired judgment, short-term memory loss, and problem processing information. Even at a BAC of 0.05, which is within the legal limit, drivers will still face reduced coordination, a diminished ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, and slower reaction times.

It is crucial to remember that drunk driving accidents are entirely preventable, and an overwhelming majority of alcohol-related road fatalities occur solely due to drunk driving and would not have happened otherwise.

Why did DUI deaths increase in 2021?

According to the latest data from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), overall alcoholic beverage sales increased during the last two years. In 2021, each person consumed 2.51 gallons of ethanol from all alcoholic drinks. This marked a 2.9 percent rise from 2020 (2.44 gallons) and a 5.5 percent increase from 2019 (2.38 gallons). It was the most significant two-year increase since 1969.

The increase in alcohol consumption correlates well with the rise in drunk driving deaths for the same period, but it does not explain the entire heap. It can be attributed to a combination of factors, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated impacts playing a significant role. The pandemic brought about unprecedented changes in people’s lives, leading to behavior and coping mechanisms shifts, which may have contributed to increased alcohol-related incidents on the roads.

Additionally, the pandemic’s economic challenges, such as widespread unemployment and financial instability, could have also contributed to increased alcohol consumption. For some individuals facing job losses or financial difficulties, alcohol might have become a means of temporary escape or relief, even leading to excessive drinking habits and risky behaviors like drinking and driving.

Is there any difference between men and women?

Yes, that’s correct. Men are over 300% more likely to be involved in a fatal drunk driving accident than women. This means that 7,792 impaired male drivers lost their lives in drunk driving crashes during the same period, whereas only 1,860 impaired women drivers died in similar incidents.

States with the most drunk driving

Montana earned the highest DUI severity score in the nation at 83.6 out of 100. In 2021, 43% of the state’s road fatalities were linked to drunk driving, and there were 471 DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers.

Following closely behind were South Dakota (81.2), Wyoming (75.1), North Dakota (72.2), and Texas (65.6). These five states also topped the list in 2020, though there has been a slight decrease in our DUI severity score since then.

States with the least drunk driving

The District of Columbia received a DUI severity score of 20.9 out of 100, indicating a relatively lower level of DUI severity. In 2021, only 29% of the state’s road fatalities involved an impaired driver, and there were 2.3 DUI fatalities per 100,000 drivers.

Following closely were Delaware (28.4), Massachusetts (31.5), Alabama (33.8), and New York (33.8). These states had the least drunk driving incidents in 2020, except for New Jersey and Hawaii, which have been replaced in the ranking. It’s encouraging to see these states maintain their focus on curbing drunk driving and promoting road safety.

The complete list of drunk driving statistics by state

Below is a complete list of drunk driving statistics by state. Each state is ranked according to its Severity Score. We have also added the percentage increase in DUI fatalities compared to the previous year, but this metric does not impact the Severity Score.


Alcohol-impaired crash data was found through the NHTSA crash data tool, the Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST), and NSC injury data.

We calculated the DUI Severity Score by first creating a normalized score out of ten on the factors “DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers”, “DUI road fatalities per 100,000 drivers”, and the “DUI road fatality ratio,” and then taking a final average score across all factors to discover the overall score for each state.

Previous DUI reports

You can view the full 2020 DUI Report following this link.

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