Drunk driving statistics: Where does Virginia rank?

In 2019, despite the advent of ride share apps, public transportation, and awareness campaigns about the dangers of drunk driving, over one million people were arrested in the United States for driving under the influence.

drunk driver takes a breathalyzer test

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving with a breath alcohol level of .08 (the legal limit in Virginia and across the country) makes a driver nearly four times more likely to cause a crash than driving without any alcohol in their system. As more alcohol is consumed, that risk only increases.

Each year, multiple studies assess where each state ranks when it comes to drunk driving arrests. According to FBI crime statistics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI fatality statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau data, Virginia was found to rank 38th. On this list, a low placement is a good thing, it means fewer Virginians are being arrested for drunk driving as compared to other states. Virginia’s DUI Severity Score was 5.31. Massachusetts performed the best, with a score of 3.34. The top six worst states for drunk driving remained the same from 2019 to 2020: Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Mississippi, and New Mexico. Ultimately there is good news on the national scale, the general trend across the country is that driving while intoxicated is decreasing.

two men drunk driving clinking bottles

However, even one drunk driving injury is too many. In 2020, preliminary data revealed alcohol-related driving led to more than 3,500 injuries in our state. In Virginia, 1.4% of adults reported driving after drinking too much. As a result, Virginia has increased the consequences for drunk driving. Penalties for driving while intoxicated can include fines or jail time. Ignition interlock devices are being added to cars if a driver is convicted of a DUI twice in a ten-year period.

Ultimately, Virginia drivers should not get behind the wheel while intoxicated. While the problem may not be as widespread as in other states, it remains a dangerous practice, putting people at risk.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver through no fault of your own, call Allen & Allen today for a free consultation at 866-734-5766.