National Drunk Driving Fatalities Surge in 2021

August 21, 2023

The number of national drunk driving fatalities increased in 2021, according to a new report by online driver education platform Zutobi.

In its analysis, Zutobi shared that 13,386 deaths were attributed to drunk driving in 2021, accounting for 31% of all road fatalities. This marked the worst year for drunk driving fatalities since 2014.

“Shockingly, the number of drunk driving deaths has surged by 1,732 (14.8%) compared to 2020, dealing a severe blow to safety advocates and regulators who strive to make our roads safer,” Zutobi wrote in its 2023 US DUI Report.

Alcohol Sales Jump in 2021, 2022

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse shared that overall alcoholic beverage sales increased during 2020 and 2021. In 2021, for example, each person consumed 2.51 gallons of ethanol from all alcoholic drinks. This marked a 2.9% rise from 2020 (2.44 gallons) and a 5.5% increase from 2019 (2.38 gallons).

This was the most significant two-year increase since 1969.

“The increase in alcohol consumption correlates well with the rise in drunk driving deaths for the same period, but it does not explain the entire heap,” Zutobi reported. “It can be attributed to a combination of factors, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated impacts playing a significant role.”

Zutobi highlighted how the pandemic brought about “unprecedented changes in people’s lives, leading to behavior and coping mechanism shifts, which may have contributed to increased alcohol-related incidents on the roads.” The study also found that men are more than 300% more likely to be involved in a fatal drunk driving accident than women.

State-by-State Breakdown

In order, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota and Texas rounded out Zutobi’s list of the states with the most drunk driving. These same states also topped the list in 2020. The District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Alabama and New York were listed as the states with the least drunk driving.

Topics Personal Auto

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