New York and New Jersey Have Low Alcohol-Impaired Crash Rates, Yet States Still Saw an Increase in DUI Fatalities
New York and New Jersey have significantly low rates of DUI car accidents, according to a recent study conducted by BackgroundChecks.org. The study suggests that the current rate of alcohol-impaired collisions and fatalities in these states is promising in comparison with others in the U.S.. Given the large populations of each of these states in relation to their overall geographic size, the report suggests that laws and other initiatives in place to prevent drunk driving crashes are working. At the same time, however, despite the comparatively low rate of DUI collisions in New York and New Jersey, both states saw an increase in their overall rate of alcohol-impaired deaths last year. While these states may have lower DUI crash fatalities rates than other states in the U.S., many of the alcohol-impaired collisions that do occur are preventable.
In the present study, New Jersey has the fourth-lowest DUI fatality rate in the country while New York has the sixth-lowest drunk driving death rate. Massachusetts, Delaware, and Illinois come in ahead of New Jersey, with Ohio and Rhode Island slightly above New York. Yet these other highly ranked states also showed a reduction in DUI fatality rates over the last year, while New York and New Jersey each showed an increase. Deadly alcohol-impaired crashes increased by 3.3% in New Jersey, while DUI fatalities rose by 6.6% in New York State.
And despite the fact that New York and New Jersey have comparatively low rates of deadly DUI crashes, it is important to highlight the fact that these statistics do not mean fewer drivers are getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol. On the contrary, both New York and New Jersey have some of the highest rates of DUI arrests in the country. Last year, more than 25,000 drivers were arrested for drunk driving in New York, and more than 17,000 drivers were arrested in New Jersey. While DUI crashes are down (relatively speaking) in New York and New Jersey, it is still important to think carefully about changing drivers’ minds about drunk driving and getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the rate of DUI crashes has dropped by almost 50% since the 1980s. In large part, changes to state laws that place stricter penalties on drunk driving have helped to limit the total number of alcohol-impaired collisions every year. Still, it is important to keep in mind that impaired driving is still a significant problem. The following are some brief facts and figures about drunk driving in New York from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 3,752 people died in drunk driving crashes in New York between 2003-2012;
- New York’s alcohol-impaired crash death rate is significantly lower than the national average, with 1.7 deaths per 100,000 population (compared with 3.3 deaths per 100,000 population nationally);
- 1.4% of adult drivers in New York admit to driving after having too much to drink in the last 30 days; and
- Highest rates of deadly alcohol-impaired crashes in New York involves drivers between the ages of 21-34.