With the holidays upon us, Forbes Advisor reports about half of Americans are concerned about accidents while driving during the season of joy and cheer. Of those who are concerned, more than 75% said they are worried about other drivers drinking at holiday parties before getting behind the wheel.
Forbes Advisor surveyed 5,000 drivers across the United States, including the District of Colombia, about their experiences with drunk driving during the holidays. In the study, Forbes Advisor analyzed six metrics, including the number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, number of DUI arrests, number of people killed in crashes with a drunk driver, number of drunk drivers under 21, and percentage of deaths caused by drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .07 and over .08.
The results show that Utah scores a low 6.86 out of 100. According to Forbes Advisor, in 2020, about one in five traffic deaths in Utah was caused by a driver who had a BAC of over .08, which is .03 over Utah’s legal limit. Only 4% of traffic deaths were caused by drivers with a BAC lower than .07, which Forbes Advisor said is tied for the fourth lowest.
Forbes Advisor also reported that only about a third of Utah drivers have seen a friend or a family member, who appeared intoxicated, drive home from a holiday party. This figure ties for the eighth lowest in the nation.
While Utah ranked low in the nation for drunk drivers, the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) said impaired driving continues to be a challenge and is an ongoing problem in the Beehive State.
According to DPS, there were over 10,500 DUI arrests in 2020, which is an increase of over 500 from 2019. Utah’s 2020 statistics also show that about 16% of drivers involved in 269 fatal crashes were impaired by alcohol.
“Research shows that very few people set out to drive while impaired and most are aware of the consequences of being stopped by law enforcement,” said DPS. “Impaired driving is most often the result of a long chain of decisions made by the person, both before and after consuming alcohol or taking drugs. The driver must make that critical decision not to drive long before they start drinking and plan for a sober ride.”
Across the nation, the District of Columbia scored the lowest (0) while New Jersey was the second lowest (5.54). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Montana scored 100 out of 100, making it the most dangerous state when it comes to drunk drivers. Utah’s neighbor, Wyoming, ranked second for the most drunk drivers (93.38) and Texas ranked behind Wyoming (90.13).