Impaired and On the Road: Cities with the Most DUIs

A car key is positioned next to beer bottle caps, implying the decision to drink and drive.

With the holiday season fast approaching, drivers in these cities should be especially wary of drunk drivers on the roads.

Traveling home for the holidays is a decision many Americans are grappling with this year, as it has been made especially difficult during the pandemic. With the surge in coronavirus cases across the nation, experts are advising to exercise caution when traveling, if not to avoid it at all. While driving during the holidays may look different in 2020 compared to previous years, it’s likely that there still may be an influx of heavy traffic on the roads across the country, especially given the heightened importance of avoiding public transportation this year.

The holiday season may be all about spreading cheer and being merry with loved ones, but unfortunately, these festivities also contribute to high rates of drunk driving over the holidays. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, rates of driving under the influence tend to spike during the holiday season, particularly between Christmas and New Year’s. In 2018, this one-week period saw 285 drunk-driving related deaths, or approximately 41 deaths per day — for comparison, the average drunk driving fatality rate is 30 deaths per day during the rest of the year. The capacity restrictions on indoor gatherings mean that the season of holiday parties may be considerably less rambunctious this year. However, drivers across the United States should remain cautious when traversing the roads this holiday season. The data science team at Insurify looked to their database to identify the cities where drunk driving is the most prevalent.

An icon map indicating which U.S. cities have the highest DUI rates.

Insights

  • National average. Across the U.S. cities surveyed, the average DUI rate is 17.07 DUIs per 1,000 drivers. The average DUI rate on the state level is 5.49 DUIs per 1,000 drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 10,511 drunk driving fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2018.
  • No East Coast cities made the rankings. The twenty cities with the highest DUI rates are located in the Midwest, Northwest, and Southwest regions of the United States. However, this does not mean that drunk driving is less of a serious issue on the East Coast. While no East Coast states are within the top 10 in the rankings of states with the most DUIs — the East Coast state with the highest DUI rate is North Carolina, which is 12th in the nation — the region has experienced a substantial number of deaths caused by drunk drivers. NHTSA statistics from 2018 show that some of the states with particularly high numbers of drunk driving-related fatalities were Florida (814), North Carolina (421), and Georgia (375).
  • High rates of drunk driving in cities across the Golden State and Centennial State. California and Colorado are tied for having the most cities in the rankings for the highest DUI rates — both the Golden and Centennial states have four cities each that made the list. On the state level, California and Colorado are both within the top 10 states with the highest DUI rates, at 9th and 6th place, respectively. Many of the other cities that made the list are also located in states with particularly high DUI rates overall — Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin make up 5 of the top 10 states with the most DUIs per 1,000 drivers.

Methodology

The data science and research team at Insurify, a website to compare auto insurance quotes, turned to its database of over 2.5 million car insurance applicants to find the cities with the most DUIs. When submitting an application for car insurance, drivers disclose their driving record, including whether or not they’ve had a DUI within the past seven years. Insurify’s data scientists compared the number of drivers that cited a DUI on their record to the total pool of car owners for over one thousand cities across the United States. The cities with the highest volume of drivers with a DUI on record per 1,000 drivers were identified as the cities with the most DUIs. Statewide statistics on drunk driving fatalities come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2018 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview.


Cities with the Most DUIs

20. Fayetteville, AR

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 41.88 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 5.24 out of 1,000 drivers (23rd in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 134

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19. Farmington, NM

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 42.39 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 6.81 out of 1,000 drivers (16th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 108

18. Menifee, CA

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 42.54 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.60 out of 1,000 drivers (9th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 1,069

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17. Billings, MT

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 42.61 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 11.47 out of 1,000 drivers (3rd in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 79

16. Clovis, CA

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 43.33 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.60 out of 1,000 drivers (9th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 1,069

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15. Coeur D’Alene, ID

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 43.48 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.24 out of 1,000 drivers (11th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 58

14. Longmont, CO

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 43.63 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 9.47 out of 1,000 drivers (6th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 188

13. Caldwell, ID

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 43.69 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.24 out of 1,000 drivers (11th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 58

12. Sioux City, IA

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 44.03 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 6.83 out of 1,000 drivers (15th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 85

11. Golden, CO

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 45.15 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 9.47 out of 1,000 drivers (6th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 188

10. Ventura, CA

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 45.67 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.60 out of 1,000 drivers (9th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 1,069

9. Fort Collins, CO

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 46.93 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 9.47 out of 1,000 drivers (6th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 188

8. Costa Mesa, CA

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 47.58 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.60 out of 1,000 drivers (9th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 1,069

7. Cheyenne, WY

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 49.57 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 13.97 out of 1,000 drivers (1st in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 34

6. Rapid City, SD

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 50.43 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 8.28 out of 1,000 drivers (10th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 45

5. Casper, WY

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 50.85 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 13.97 out of 1,000 drivers (1st in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 34

4. Bozeman, MT

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 55.87 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 11.47 out of 1,000 drivers (3rd in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 79

3. Rochester, MN

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 57.09 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 9.91 out of 1,000 drivers (5th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 105

2. Loveland, CO

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 61.95 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 9.47 out of 1,000 drivers (6th in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 188

1. Gillette, WY

  • Drivers with a DUI on record: 68.56 out of 1,000
  • Statewide DUI rate: 13.97 out of 1,000 drivers (1st in the nation)
  • Drunk driving fatalities (statewide): 34

If you have questions or comments about this article, please contact insights@insurify.com.

Updated January 15, 2021

Insurify Insights

Insurify’s team of data scientists and content specialists presents Insurify Insights, a series of automotive, home, and health studies focusing on the topics that impact us all. Through expert analysis of over 2.5 million car insurance applications and an array of top data sources, the Insurify Insights team produces new data-driven articles, trend analyses, regional superlatives, and national rankings every week. See Insurify Insights as featured in Forbes, Fox News, USA Today, NPR, and more.