Wyoming leads the nation for most traffic fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver, with 7.59 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 as compared with 5.98 deaths in 2016 when it ranked eighth among all states, according to a new report from SafeWise.
South Carolina takes second place with 6.22 fatalities in 2017 attributed to drunk driving. Other states in the top five most dangerous for drunk driving include North Dakota with 6.08 lost lives, New Mexico with 5.74, and Alabama with 5.49.
All of the states in the top five except Wyoming were also on the top five list in 2016. On the upside, every state in the five worst except of Wyoming decreased its rate of drunk driving deaths year over year in 2017.
Montana is the state that has shown the most impressive improvement overall. It went from ranking first in the nation for most dangerous roads, with 9.58 drunk driving fatalities in 2016, to number 27 with 5.33 lost lives in 2017.
New Jersey takes the top spot for fewest drunk driving deaths — 1.38 per 100,000 people. Other states in the top five for fewest fatalities involving alcohol impairment include New York with 1.48 deaths, Minnesota with 1.52, Utah with 1.70, and Massachusetts with 1.74.
The report, which draws on the most recent impaired driving data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was released to coincide with the holiday season.
History shows that the winter holidays bring with them an uptick in drunk driving, with New Year's Eve ranking among the deadliest nights on the nation's roads.
In fact, drunk driving deaths increased by 35% between Thanksgiving Eve and New Year's Eve from 2013 to 2017, according to NHTSA data. In 2017, 1,143 people were killed from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve through New Year's Eve.