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Counties With the Most Alcohol-Impaired Driving Deaths in the United States

Published on Thursday, September 24, 2020

Counties With the Most Alcohol-Impaired Driving Deaths in the United States

Each day, an average of 29 people across America lose their lives in car crashes that involve a drunk driver. That’s one death every 50 minutes! In 2016 alone, 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. were a result of crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, amounting to 10,497 lives lost. It’s estimated that 16% of car crashes in the United States involve drugs or alcohol.

We constructed this guide using statistics from the County Health Rankings, specifically the number of driving deaths that were related to alcohol from 2014 through 2018, in every county across the United States.

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Counties With the Most Alcohol-Impaired Driving Deaths in the United States

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There are some counties that have unfortunately seen a large number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths in general over this time span. Here are the 15 counties with the most deaths related to drunk driving. Seven of the top fifteen counties are all located in California.

  1. Los Angeles, CA: 901
  2. Harris, TX: 749
  3. Maricopa, AZ: 566
  4. Riverside, CA: 440
  5. Dallas, TX: 439
  6. San Bernardino, CA: 438
  7. Cook, IL: 399
  8. San Diego, CA: 349
  9. Clark, NV: 291
  10. Orange, CA: 271
  11. Bexar, TX: 267
  12. Hillsbourogh, FL: 254
  13. Wayne, MI: 240
  14. Kern, CA: 223
  15. Sacramento, CA: 219

According to the County Health Rankings, from 2014 through 2018 alone, there were 22 counties across the United States where 100% of the driving deaths were related to alcohol. At the top of the list, the most alcohol-involved driving deaths occurred in Alaska.

  1. Nome Census Area, Alaska: 6 deaths
  2. Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska: 5 deaths
  3. Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska: 4 deaths
  4. Columbia County, Washington: 3 deaths
  5. Keya Paha County, Nebraska: 2 deaths
  6. Tucker County, West Virginia: 2 deaths
  7. Perkins County, South Dakota: 2 deaths
  8. Eddy County, North Dakota: 2 deaths
  9. Oliver County, North Dakota: 2 deaths
  10. Hinsdale County, Colorado: 1 death
  11. Kittson County, Minnesota: 1 death
  12. Haaken County, South Dakota: 1 death
  13. Hayes County, Nebraska: 1 death
  14. Cook County, Minnesota: 1 death
  15. Miner County, South Dakota: 1 death
  16. Keweenaw County, Michigan: 1 death
  17. Red Lake County, Minnesota: 1 death
  18. Lincoln County, Kansas: 1 death
  19. Pondera County, Montana: 1 death
  20. Liberty County, Montana: 1 death
  21. Spink County, South Dakota: 1 death
  22. Sheridan County, North Dakota: 1 death

In six counties across the United States in the same time frame (2014 through 2018), at least 80% of driving deaths had a connection to alcohol.

  1. Knox County, Nebraska: 7 total driving deaths (6 related to alcohol, 86%)
  2. Pepin County, Wisconsin: 5 total driving deaths (4 related to alcohol, 80%)
  3. Day County, South Dakota: 5 total driving deaths (4 related to alcohol, 80%)
  4. Collingsworth County, Texas: 5 total driving deaths (4 related to alcohol, 80%)
  5. Sargent County, North Dakota: 5 total driving deaths (4 related to alcohol, 80%)
  6. Montmorency County, Michigan: 5 total driving deaths (4 related to alcohol, 80%)

Of the 50 counties listed in this ranking, some states had a much higher number of driving deaths in general, even if they didn’t have the highest percentage of fatal accidents related to alcohol. Here are the seven counties with the most driving deaths overall from 2014 through 2018:

  1. Glacier County, Montana: 30 total driving deaths (22 related to alcohol, 73%)
  2. Claiborne County, Mississippi: 22 total driving deaths (16 related to alcohol, 73%)
  3. Pend Oreille County, Washington: 16 total driving deaths (11 related to alcohol, 69%)
  4. Sheridan County, Nebraska: 14 total driving deaths (10 related to alcohol, 71%)
  5. Swift County, Minnesota: 13 total driving deaths (9 related to alcohol, 69%)
  6. Phelps County, Nebraska: 13 total driving deaths (9 related to alcohol, 69%)
  7. Blaine County, Montana: 10 total driving deaths (7 related to alcohol, 70%)

Glacier County, Montana, saw more driving deaths than any other county in the United States between 2014 and 2018, with 22 of those 30 deaths involving alcohol. Glacier County is home to Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the most scenic roads in the country but also one of the most harrowing. Its narrow pavement, cliff-hugging curves, and steep drop-offs can be tricky for even sober drivers to navigate.

Did your county make these data rankings?

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Author: Allison Rampolla

Categories: General

Tags: Infographics

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