New Study Identifies Most Dangerous States for Drunk Driving

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A recent study conducted by has ranked the most dangerous states for drunk driving in the U.S., finding weak laws the most important determining factor, among others.

The study based their results on five categories, DUI death rank, DUI death cost, DUI arrests, DUI penalties and DUI laws. Each of these categories has its own intricate calculations based on public statistics provided by sources such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

The study concluded the ten most dangerous states for drunk driving are:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. North Dakota
  3. South Dakota
  4. Montana
  5. Maine
  6. Rhode Island
  7. (Tie) Idaho and Nebraska
  8. (Tie) Idaho and Nebraska
  9. New Mexico
  10. Texas

TAPCO’s home state of Wisconsin unfortunately moved to the number one spot after being ranked number four in 2016 and number two in 2017. This poor ranking is largely due to the state's lenient DUI penalties, with it being the only state to not criminalize first-time drinking and driving offenses.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides more sobering statistics on the reality of the state’s DUI problem, with their Division of Motor Vehicles driver record file specifically showing that as of 2019, 494,939 drivers had an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) conviction. pointed out legislation issues in other top-ranking states as well, noting that though South Dakota has more harsh penalties for DUIs, they are often not strictly enforced.


Other states, such as Maine, are seriously tackling the issue of drunk driving with strict and well-enforced penalties. Maine adopted a Zero Tolerance law, which includes penalties such as suspended licenses, mandatory ignition interlock devices and driver education courses. While the state still ranks high in recent studies, it hopes to change that with these actions.'s article highlights that while reformed legislation is important, individual responsibility cannot be forgotten with the issue of drunk driving. Drinking responsibly, having a designated driver or paying for a ride home can make all the difference in saving someone’s life.

Kate Bert

TAPCO | Product Manager

Kate is a wrong-way alert and overheight warning systems expert dedicated to providing customers with innovative products, knowledge and guidance.

She has extensive experience in engineering, operations and product management and is passionate about collaborating with the team to develop lifesaving solutions to ensure safe travel for all users.

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