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NJ Has Least Severe Drunk-Driving Problem In Tri-state Area, Among Lowest In Nation

Enforcement campaigns have dramatically reduced the number of drunk-driving fatalities since the 1980s, especially in the tri-state area, according to a new study.
Enforcement campaigns have dramatically reduced the number of drunk-driving fatalities since the 1980s, especially in the tri-state area, according to a new study. Photo Credit: File

Drunk driving fatalities and arrests have plummeted nationwide in in the last 40 years, with New Jersey ranked 47th for the severity of the problem based on a number of statistics, according to a report by Background Checks.org released Wednesday.

Neighboring New York was ranked 44th in the survey of all states last year, while Connecticut came in at 38th. Among the country's regions, the drunk driving problem was deemed least severe in the Northeast and the Midwest.

"In 2018, 29 percent of total motor vehicle fatalities were a result of alcohol impairment, wherein an operator of a vehicle involved in the crash had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. The good news is that this is the lowest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities since the NHTSA began reporting alcohol data in 1982. However, the rate is much higher in some states compared to others," the report's authors wrote.

The study credits groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and much tougher penalties for the nearly 50 percent reduction in drunk-driving fatalities since the early 1980s.

Using data from the FBI and other agencies, the study looked at DWI arrests in a state, the rate of arrests, the rate of fatalities as well as the percent change in DUI deaths to come up with a "score" rating the severity of the drunk-driving problem in a particular state.

Montana, for instance, had a rate of fatal DUIs of 7.44 per 100,000 of population, versus 3.22 in Connecticut and 1.57 in New York. New Jersey reported a fatal drunk-driving rate of just 1.4 per 100,000.

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