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Drunk driving is a problem all across the country. Here are the cities where it is most prevalent.

It’s a familiar scene that happens in communities across the United States. At closing time, bartenders lock their doors and send the last few remaining patrons out onto the streets. Some will take a cab or Uber home, while some will be able to make the commute on foot. But inevitably around that time (and often earlier in the night), drivers will make the poor decision to drive their own cars home, believing that the alcohol in their system isn’t affecting their ability to safely maneuver their vehicle.

That decision often ends in tragedy—in 2017, an average of 30 Americans were killed due to drunk driving each day. That figure has decreased by almost 50 percent since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started to collect annual data on traffic crash fatalities in 1982, but nevertheless driving while under the influence of alcohol is still the most prevalent cause of death on U.S. roadways.

The problem affects people everywhere, but is particularly concerning in some places. To take a closer look at which communities are most heavily impacted by drunk driving, researchers at Insurify investigated which 20 cities across the country had the highest percentage of drivers with a prior DUI.

Insights

  • National averages. On average, 3.03 percent of drivers had at least one prior DUI violation. In 2017, a total of 10,876 people were killed as a result of drunk driving, and 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved at least one driver with a blood-alcohol content level (BAC) of .08 or higher. 
  • The worst cities are in better states. Interestingly enough, just five of the 20 cities on the countdown are located in states where the percentage of driving-related fatalities with a driver impaired by alcohol is above the national average. This may be due to the fact that driving drunk is a problem everywhere, and one city having a high share of motorists with a DUI doesn’t move the needle too much when it comes to statewide drunk driving fatalities.
  • West is not the best. Driving impaired appears to be a particularly bad problem in the West. In fact, 10 of the 11 states in the West region as defined by the United States Census Bureau had a city in the top 20. Washington was the only state that did not. None of the other three regions (all of which are comprised of at least nine states) had more than five territories in the top 20.  

Methodology

To determine which cities around the country had the highest percentage of drivers with prior DUI violations, the data science team at Insurify, a website for car insurance quotes comparison, looked at the numbers from its database of over 1.6 million car insurance applications. To apply for quotes, drivers input personal information and driving history, including their city of residence, and whether they have been cited for a DUI in the past seven years. The number of drivers with a prior DUI was compared against the total number of drivers in each city to discover the share of drivers with a prior DUI. The city with the top proportion in each state was selected, and the top 20 are listed below. 

Data on the population of each municipality was taken from 2018 estimates collected by the United States Census Bureau. Information on the number of drunk driving fatalities was taken from figures compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and numbers on the percentage of alcohol-impaired driving-related fatalities were compiled from a 2017 study done by the NHTSA.

20. Topeka, Kansas

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.45%
  • Population: 125,904
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 94
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 22%

19. Clearfield, Utah

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.63%
  • Population: 31,967
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 52
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 19%

18. Bowling Green, Kentucky

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.63%
  • Population: 68,401
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 175
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 23%

17. St. Paul, Minnesota

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.72%
  • Population: 307,695 
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 93
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 24%

16. Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.78%
  • Population: 255,310
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 232
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 28%

15. Santa Fe, New Mexico

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.79%
  • Population: 84,612
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 118 
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 32%

14. Medford, Oregon

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 3.99%
  • Population: 82,347
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 154
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 31%

13. Columbia, Missouri

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.01%
  • Population: 123,180 
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 244
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 27%

12. Boise, Idaho

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.08%
  • Population: 228,790
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 77
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 24%

11. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.09%
  • Population: 450,189
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 220
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 29%

10. York, Pennsylvania

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.09%
  • Population: 44,118
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 327
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 28%

9. Concord, North Carolina

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.2%
  • Population: 94,130 
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 354
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 29%

8. Sparks, Nevada

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.32%
  • Population: 104,246
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 101
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 29%

7. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.32%
  • Population: 287,401 
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 62
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 29%

6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.66%
  • Population: 181,883
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 46
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 27%

5. Billings, Montana

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 4.83%
  • Population: 109,550
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 85
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 30%

4. Springdale, Arizona

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 5.08%
  • Population: 81,029
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 232
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 28%

3. Cheyenne, Wyoming

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 5.31%
  • Population: 63,957
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 32
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 36

2. Costa Mesa, California

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 5.77%
  • Population: 113,615
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 1,059
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 31%

1. Loveland, Colorado

  • Percentage of drivers with a DUI violation: 6.59%
  • Population: 77,446
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 161
  • Percentage of driving-related deaths with an alcohol-impaired driver (statewide): 27%

This article originally ran on insurify.com.

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