ND, SC Had the Highest Percentage of Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities in 2010

By Christopher Goins | December 13, 2011 | 11:44 AM EST

(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – North Dakota, South Carolina and Texas had the highest percentage of traffic fatalities from drunk or impaired driving in 2010, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Drunk driving was the cause of 44 percent of crashes in North Dakota and South Carolina and 42 percent of the crashes in Texas – 2 percent increases from the year before, respectively.

Meanwhile, Texas, California, and Florida had the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving crashes out of the 10,228 total for the nation.

Texas led with a total 2,998 alcohol-impaired driving crashes. California and Florida followed with 2,715 and 2,445 alcohol-impaired driving crashes respectively.

Other states that had more than 1,000 fatal crashes from alcohol were: New York (1,200), North Carolina (1,319), Ohio (1,080), Pennsylvania (1,324), Tennessee (1,031).

Although drunk driving deaths declined in many parts of the country, the data shows that overall one in three deaths on American roads are due to alcohol-influenced crashes.

Alcohol impaired-driving fatalities, defined as crashes where the driver has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or greater, declined by 4.9 percent in 2010.

The data shows that the number of drunk-driving deaths plummeted in California and Florida -- in both states, the number declined by more than 100 deaths — from 2009. Another 31 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia also showed a decline in drunk-driving fatalities.

California saw the greatest decline in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities with 133; Florida declined by 117.

According to the report, “Sixteen states saw an increase of alcohol-impaired fatalities ranging from 3 to 46 fatalities.”

The top five states to see an increase in alcohol-impaired fatalities are New York (46), Kansas (45), Pennsylvania (34), North Carolina (30), and Connecticut (24).

In 2010, the 10,228 people that were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for 31 percent of overall fatalities (32, 885 total fatalities in 2010 on American roads), including 415 during the second half of December alone. The total number is down from 2009 when alcohol-impaired driving crashes accounted for 32 percent of all driving deaths.

California had 375 fewer fatalities in 2010 than in 2009. Other states with the more than 100 fewer fatalities were Florida (115), Louisiana (114), and Texas (106).

Connecticut was number one out of the five states that had increases by 50 fatalities from 2009 to 2010. Connecticut went up by 95 fatalities. Michigan went up by 70 fatalities. Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio followed with 68, 61, 58 respectively.

The second half of December 2010 showed that 415 “alcohol-impaired driving crashes” occurred out of the entire 10,228 fatalities that happened in 2010.