Is Drunk Driving in Texas on the Rise?

Despite some reductions in recent years, drunk driving is still common throughout the U.S. and contributes substantially to the overall number of traffic accidents and fatalities. In Texas, residents drive while intoxicated slightly more often than the nationwide average, and the state has one of the country’s highest rates for alcohol-related traffic fatalities. However, the most recent available reports indicate that Texas has actually experienced a slight decline in drunk driving-related deaths (and therefore probably in drunk driving, in general).

How Often Do People in Texas Drive Drunk?

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issue periodic reports on drunk driving in Texas and all other U.S. states. The statistics from the latest CDC report cover the year 2012. In that year, 1.9% of all American adults admitted to driving while intoxicated in a typical month. A slightly higher percentage of Texan adults (2.1%) admitted to this dangerous practice.

Texas and Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities

Drunk driving in Texas has one extreme consequence: a high rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. A federal agency called the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps track of such fatalities in all 50 states. In 2015, the last year with currently reported statistics, a total of 1,323 Texans died in a motor vehicle accident triggered by drunk driving. This number was the equivalent of an astounding 38% of all traffic fatalities in the state that year. Only two other states (Rhode Island and Connecticut) had a higher percentage of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths.

A Slight Decline in Drunk Driving-Related Deaths

Unfortunately, one of the most accurate ways to track the number of people who drive while intoxicated is the number of people who die in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. Although Texas has one of the nation’s highest rates for such accidents, that rate actually dropped by a small amount in 2015. That year, 123 fewer Texans died in drunk driving incidents than in 2014. This represented the largest decline reported anywhere in the country. It appears that drunk driving in the state, while relatively common, is not currently on the rise. This may, hopefully, mean that more are seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. Resources Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sobering Facts – Drunk Driving in Texas National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: 2015 Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview    

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