CT Leads Nation In Alcohol-Impaired-Driver Deaths, Federal Study Says

A new federal study shows that Connecticut recorded the highest rate of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2017 among all U.S. states.

Traffic on I-95, with the southbound side on the right.
Traffic on I-95, with the southbound side on the right. Photo Credit: CT DOT

Of 278 fatal crashes in 2017, 43 percent involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. 

That's the highest rate of any state except for the District of Columbia which had a rate of 51 percent, and 31 total fatal crashes in 2017, the NHTSA said.

And while overall deaths from crashes in the state declined from 304 in 2016 to 278 in 2017, deaths involving drunk drivers increased 3.5 percent, NHTSA research found. 

Across the country, during the same time period,  drunk driver fatal crashes decreased by 1.1 percent or 29 percent overall.

The 29 percent fatality rate is the lowest number since the NHTSA began keeping data in 1982.  Overall, there were 112 less alcohol-related driving deaths nationwide in 2017.

The research also found that the end of the year is the most dangerous time on roadways, with 4,110 people dying in December drunk-driving crashes nationwide from 2013 to 2017, according to the NHTSA.

And, the average recorded blood alcohol level among drunk drivers in fatal crashes was .16, twice the legal limit, NHTSA reported.

Interestingly, marijuana use is also a factor in crashes among young Connecticut drivers. The data showed that more young drivers use pot and drive than any other age group.

Other states ranking right behind Connecticut included Rhode Island with 41 percent; Massachusetts with 34 percent; Maine at 29 percent, and New Hampshire and Vermont, both with 26 percent.

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