A Sobering Map of Drunk Driving Fatalities

In the U.S., one third of traffic crash fatalities involve drunk drivers. Tens of thousands of people die every year in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. The MTVLaw gathered data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a map of cities with the highest number of drunk driving deaths.

One city has a significant lead over all the others. That’s Odessa, Texas which has a rate of 27.46 fatal drunk driving accidents per 100,000 residents. Many of these drivers were aggravated drunk driving, which means their blood alcohol level was higher than .15%. Odessa clearly has a big problem with drunk driving since the next city on the list had a 32% lower rate of drunk driving fatalities.

Here are the statistics on the top ten cities:

  1. Odessa, TX: 27.46
  2. San Bernardino, CA: 18.15
  3. Pueblo, CO: 17.94
  4. Corona, CA: 15.04
  5. Hartford, CT: 14.91
  6. Midland, TX: 14.13
  7. Dallas, TX: 13.93
  8. Chattanooga, TN: 13.58
  9. Detroit, MI: 13.22
  10. Charleston, SC: 13.01

Why is the rate so high in Odessa? It’s unclear why Odessa has a much higher rate than other cities. Many people believe that places that lack reliable, accessible public transportation are more at risk of housing drunk drivers. Others claim that Texas lawmakers aren’t hard enough on people who drive under the influence.

The legal Blood Alcohol limit is .08%. Anyone driving at a higher level can be charged with a DWI or a DUI. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization led a campaign to pass the Zero Tolerance Law which meant anyone under 21 who drove with any amount of alcohol in their system could be charged. A hard line against drunk driving may be the only way to prevent further deaths.

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