Connecticut leads U.S. in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities
The state of Connecticut had the highest rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities among all states in 2017, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Connecticut recorded 278 fatal vehicle crashes in 2017, and, of those, 43% involved at least one intoxicated driver, the NHTSA said.
While overall fatalities from crashes in Connecticut declined from 304 in 2016 to 278 in 2017, deaths involving drunk drivers increased by 3.5%.
During the same period, nationwide intoxicated driver crash deaths decreased by 1.1% or 29% overall. In 2017, there were 112 fewer alcohol-related driving deaths nationwide than the previous year. The 29% fatality rate is the lowest number since the NHTSA began keeping data over 35 years ago.
Over ten years, from 2008 to 2017, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities nationwide decreased by 7%, from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,874 in 2017, the NHTSA said.
The NHTSA also found that the end of the year is the most dangerous time to be on the road. In December, 4,110 people died in drunk-driving crashes nationwide from 2013 to 2017.
The average recorded blood alcohol content among intoxicated drivers in deadly crashes was .16, which is twice the legal limit. However, blood alcohol testing of motorists in fatal crashes varies by state. Nationwide, 42.2% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were tested, according to former NHTSA researcher Jim Hedlund. Connecticut’s rate was higher at 46.3%. Mississippi tested the least at 23.4%, while South Dakota had the highest rate, at 89.2%, according to Hedlund.
Cannabis use is also a factor in fatal crashes among young Connecticut drivers. NHTSA’s data showed that more young drivers use marijuana and drive than any other age group.
Other New England states ranking behind Connecticut included Rhode Island at 41%, Massachusetts at 34%, and Maine at 29%.
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