According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Census Bureau, and the FBI, and compiled by The Zebra insurance company, Wyoming was the worst state in the nation for drunk driving in 2020.
Although last year was the safest on record nationwide since reporting became standard in 1982, Wyoming ranked the worst overall for drunk driving problems and had more fatalities per 100,000 people than any other state.
“Critics blast the state’s lenient drunk driving laws and absence of sobriety checkpoints,” the study reads. “Alcohol-impaired driving incidents killed 36 people in Wyoming in 2019 — that number is six times greater than the total fatalities recorded in the District of Columbia, despite Wyoming’s smaller population and larger size.”
Wyoming recorded 6.2 fatalities per 100,000 people and 550 DUI arrests in 2020.
Neighboring states Montana and Idaho also ranked in the top five.
“Mothers Against Drunk Driving cite Montana as one of the most dangerously tolerant states for drunk driving offenders, and the state’s 66 fatalities last year were enough to give it the second-highest fatality rate in the entire country,” the report reads.
Idaho passed new laws in 2020 that required first-time drunk driving offenders to drive with ignition interlocks but that wasn’t enough to keep the state out of the top five.
Idaho jumped to a fourth-place ranking, thanks in part to it’s high DUI arrest rate of 442 per 100,000 people.
“The most dangerous territory in the U.S. for drunk driving incidents is a vast stretch of land from the Midwest to the Rocky Mountains, encompassing North and South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho,” the study said.
“We found that each of these states appears repeatedly atop annual lists totaling per capita DUI arrests and fatalities, and faces repeated criticism from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others on lenient drunk driving laws that encourage the behavior to continue,” it continued.
As for the safest states in the country, the District of Columbia topped that list followed by New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Utah.
Wyoming did not rank in the top five for alcohol consumption. Tops in that category went to New Hampshire which was rated the “drunkest state in the nation” consuming alcohol at a rate 34% higher than the runner-up.