NHTSA: Drunk-Driving Deaths Fell in Majority of States

The much-publicized drop in roadway deaths in the U.S. has also come with a decreasing rate of drunk-driving-related fatalities, the latter falling 2.5 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2011, according to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The state-by-state report on drunk driving deaths showed that the largest percentage drop was in Maine, where the alcohol-impaired death toll dropped from 40 to 23 between 2010 and 2011, amounting to a whopping 43 percent decrease.

New Hampshire was close behind, with a 40 percent drop in alcohol-related deaths that saw the 45 deaths in 2010 fall to 27 deaths in 2011.

Another major decrease was in Idaho, where the fatalities involving alcohol dropped 31 percent, from 72 deaths in 2010 to 50 in 2011.

Overall, 27 states reduced their number of annual alcohol-related fatalities on the road.

Some states performed poorly in the report. Roadway fatalities linked to alcohol in Oregon jumped from 70 in 2010 to 97 last year, a 39 percent increase, the report’s largest. North Dakota also saw a 39 percent jump, going from 46 deaths in 2010 to 64 in 2011.

Colorado’s fatality total rose by 34 percent and 41 deaths in 2010-11. Alaska saw a 31 percent increase, rising from 16 to 21 deaths in that period.

The NHTSA released their report in conjunction with publicity for its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said in a statement carries special weight during the holiday season. Last year, 4 percent of people killed in the crashes linked to drunk driving died in the second half of December, according to the NHTSA.

“The holiday season can be an especially dangerous time on our nation’s roadways due to drunk drivers — that’s why law enforcement officers will be out in full force,” LaHood said. “Our message is simple: drive sober or get pulled over.”

Drunk Driving Has Heavy Consequences on Insurance

Drunk driving doesn’t only lead you likely wrecking your car but can also do the same to your insurance rates. Insurers often brand drivers with DUI convictions a risky bet, either canceling their coverage or, if the provider carries the option, requiring the policyholder buy coverage for high-risk drivers that will mean higher insurance premiums.

An OnlineAutoInsurance.com analysis across a handful of insurers quantified exactly how much a DUI could boost your insurance costs right off the bat in the insurance quote process.

Using a sample profile of a male driver living in Los Angeles, OAI found that age played a big factor in how much that price hike will be, though a DUI conviction pumped up coverage prices across all ages used in the quotes.

For a 20-year-old man, a DUI conviction meant an average price hike of 55 percent, or a whopping $1,169 a year. For a 25-year-old, it increased costs by an average of 65 percent. Looking at all ages in the analysis, the hikes from DUIs ranged widely from 26 percent to 97 percent.

So drivers should know that getting behind the wheel while drunk is not only dangerous, but also leaves them at the mercy of insurers who have a big range of excessively inflated insurance rates that can be charged because of a DUI.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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