How Does Washington’s Tough Stance on Drivers Affect Safety

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2019 | DUI

Washington State Reported as State with One of Lowest DUI Death Rates

For licensed Washington drivers, staying safe while behind the wheel is extremely important, especially when it comes to impaired or intoxicated driving.

The numbers certainly show this fact as Washington state has recently been ranked as one of the 10 states with the lowest rate of deaths resulting from intoxicated, drugged or impaired driving. This new ranking comes from a report recently issued by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA).

This NHSA report was published on Safewise, an independent review site. According to the report which relied on recent U.S. Census government data, Washington State reported 2.55 impaired driving deaths per 100,000 population. This rate was lower than 43 other states and ranked as the seventh best state overall.

Washington’s Tough Stance on DUI and Distracted Driving

Many experts attributed this low rate of DUI fatalities to the Washington state’s tough stance on impaired, intoxicated, and distracted driving that has been developing over recent years; led by the state legislature, the Washington State Patrol, and local police departments.

One thing for sure is that drivers in Washington need to exercise caution and restraint while driving on the road.

For instance, many pointed to Washington State’s new law on distracted driving as showing just how serious the state takes the safety of its residents on the road. This new law prohibited a number of activities beyond texting and driving, including simply holding a personal electronic device, as well as eating or applying make-up while driving.

For drivers in Washington, this means that the state and local police departments are cracking down on intoxicated or impaired driving. They have developed a no-tolerance stance when it comes to operating a vehicle after drinking or ingesting any illegal drugs, as well as picking up the phone while operating a vehicle.

How Does Washington Compare

Washington is not alone in its efforts. Other states with lower rates have also enacted legislation to crackdown on impaired or distracted driving.

The report also stated that the state with the highest rate of impaired driving deaths was Montana. Surprisingly, the Big Sky state reported 9.15 fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.

South Carolina and North Dakota are next up on the list with the highest number of fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.

However, the State of New York was reported as having the lowest rate of impaired driving deaths. New York’s rate is 1.65 fatalities for every 100,000 individuals.

One would assume that a higher population means a higher rate of DUI fatalities, but the statistical evidence shows this is not the case. Montana, is a state known for its lower population and was reported as the state with the highest fatality rate; while New York, is a state known for its dense population and was reported as the lowest on the list of DUI fatalities.

One interesting characteristic shared by three of the worst five states for DUI fatalities was that these states did not require installation of ignition interlock devices for drivers who were convicted of a DUI.

Another interesting correlation has been made between residents using ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, and a lower rate of DUI and impaired driving accidents. Many residents in the states with the lower rates have reported frequent use of ride sharing in lieu of driving while intoxicated. As a result, Safewise has offered gift certificates for these ride sharing services for residents in any of the states with the worst reported rates.

Other organizations are taking these statistics and trying to effect change in the states with the higher rates of DUI fatalities. For instance, as a result of this report, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has designated Montana as the state where it needs to do the most work when it comes to cracking down on drunk driving.

The states with the highest rate of fatalities per 100,000 were:

  1. Montana with a rate of 9.15
  2. South Carolina with a rate of 7.98
  3. North Dakota with a rate of 7.10

The states with the lowest rate of fatalities per 100,000 were:

  1. New York with a rate of 1.65
  2. Utah with a rate of 1.94
  3. New Jersey with a rate of 1.97

It is the hope that the states with the higher rates of deaths due to intoxicated or impaired driving will find ways to reduce these numbers, following suit along with states like Washington, and making roads safer for everyone.

Whether those laws crack down solely on intoxication or impairment but also distracted driving, or whether organizations and law enforcement encourage the use of ride sharing services more and more, it is hoped that changes will be made for the future.