An dangerous epidemic throughout North Dakota
Despite the continued media attention, law enforcement programs and general knowledge of the risks of drinking and driving, this problem continues to be an issue in North Dakota. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, North Dakota leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities. In North Dakota, 41 percent of traffic deaths involved a driver who has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.
Texas and Massachusetts also had the same percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in comparison to accidents attributed to other causes. The average rate is 31 percent. North Dakota is notably different than Texas and Massachusetts in that its population is much less dense and its geographic limitations much more scarce than the other states. Drunk driving accidents accounted for the deaths of 10.3 people for every 100,000 residents. This figure represents the highest rate in the nation.
The rate of drunk driving deaths has risen by 64.2 percent over the last decade ending in 2012. This figure presents the largest increase of any state in the nation.
Nationally, drunk driving fatalities often involved individuals who were two or more times the legal limit. In 2012, 61 percent of drunk driving offenders involved in accidents that resulted in fatalities had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or more. However, in North Dakota, 78.3 percent of offenders had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more.
There is also a strong correlation between the rate of alcohol-related fatalities and beer consumption. The industry trade group, Beer Institute, also compiled data to determine the states’ per capita consumption of beer. This group found that North Dakota had the highest per capita consumption of beer with a consumption rate of 45.8 gallons. Similarly, Texas also had one of the highest consumption rates.
In addition to North Dakota having the highest number of alcohol-related fatalities, it also had a relatively low number of arrests for drunk drivers at 5,730 arrests in 2012. This was the 11th lowest rate in the nation. With fewer roads and people on the road, it is likely easier for drunk drivers to be spotted than it is in states with more expansive borders. Part of the reason that the number of arrests is lower is because there are simply fewer people in North Dakota. However, critics cite permissive law enforcement and not enough strict enforcement of drunk driving laws as the reason for this lower number.
As if the situation was not bad enough on its own, North Dakota had the third highest percentage of minors consuming alcohol. With these negative numbers, North Dakota drivers and passengers must take proactive steps to protect themselves on the roadways which they may be sharing with drunk drivers. This includes making sure that the person driving them is actually sober, getting a ride from a taxi or friend when necessary and keeping a lookout for dangers on the road, especially during holidays and other times when there is a spike in drunk driving.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, contact experienced North Dakota drunk driving accident lawyers at the Larson Law Firm P.C online or call us at 701-484-4878 to schedule a free case evaluation and to receive legal advice specific to your case.