The Most Dangerous Cities In America For DUIs And Fatal Alcohol-Related Crashes

NerdWallet is back with an in-depth study of the most dangerous cities in America for DUIs and fatal alcohol-induced accidents. According to the website, “DUIs have a high cost, both human and financial” with 10,322 people dying in alcohol-related vehicle accidents in 2012 alone. Economically speaking, the study states, drunk driving costs an estimated $199 billion a year in the U.S., with huge expenses to those guilty of an infraction via fines, court costs, and skyrocketing auto insurance premiums.

Naturally, some cities are more dangerous than others with cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma, offering more risk than San Francisco, California. “Even so, the cities with the highest number of fatal alcohol-related vehicle crashes per capita aren’t the cities where drivers see the steepest auto insurance increases after receiving a DUI,” the site points out.

Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), NerdWallet analyzed the 150 largest U.S. cities and found the places with the most fatal alcohol-related car accidents per capita. The site also used the data to find the average car insurance premium increase drivers will have to pay after receiving a DUI. “At the national level, we found no correlation between cities with high rates of fatal crashes involving alcohol and cities where drivers experience steep car insurance increases after they receive DUIs.”


Some of the study’s key findings include the following:

  • Six of 10 cities with the most fatal alcohol-related car crashes per capita are cities where drivers see relatively lower car insurance rate increases after they receive DUIs.

  • The national average annual car insurance premium increase after receiving a DUI is 75.3% a year. However, the range of percentage increase varies greatly. For example, drivers in San Bernardino, California, see a 135.06% increase each year, but drivers in Omaha, Nebraska, see a 3.76% increase.

  • The national average dollar increase for insurance premiums after a DUI is $857.53 a year, but the extra cost can range from $5,996.20 in Detroit, Michigan, to $45.26 in Omaha, Nebraska.


5 Cities With Highest Alcohol-Related Fatal Crashes Per Capita

1. San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino has the most alcohol-related fatal crashes per capita of any city in the U.S. In 2010-2012, there were 92 fatal crashes involving drunk drivers. With a population of over 210,000, San Bernardino has nearly six times as many alcohol-related crashes per 1,000 residents, or 0.4368, compared to the national average of 0.0731.

San Bernardino residents who get DUIs also face hefty car insurance increases. On average, they can expect to pay $1,282.43 more a year, or about $400 more than the national average of $857.53 a year, for car insurance after a DUI.


2. Mobile, Alabama

From 2010 to 2012, Mobile recorded 58 fatal alcohol-related crashes. For the city of about 195,000 residents, the number of fatal alcohol-related car accidents per capita in Mobile was about four times the national average. Augusta, Georgia, which has about the same number of people as Mobile, only had 17 fatal alcohol-related crashes in the same period.

Compared to drivers in other cities, Mobile residents face much smaller annual car insurance increases after receiving DUIs. On average, Mobile drivers pay $1,014.88 a year for car insurance. After a DUI, Mobile drivers can expect to pay $476.75 more a year, an increase of 46.98% for car insurance premiums.


3. Riverside, California

Riverside, about 14 miles south of San Bernardino, is the city with the third-highest number of fatal alcohol-related accidents in the nation. Riverside had about three times the number of fatal alcohol-related crashes per capita compared to the national average from 2010 to 2012.

Drivers in Riverside who receive DUIs will face slightly steeper car insurance rate increases than San Bernardino drivers. The average Riverside driver pays $1,001.94 a year for car insurance. After a DUI, that number jumps 140.16% to $2,406.25.


4. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa, which has about 390,000 residents, had 74 fatal alcohol-related accidents from 2010 to 2012. Oklahoma City, which has almost 200,000 more residents than Tulsa, also had 74 alcohol-related crashes during the same period.

Drivers in Tulsa face below-average insurance rate increases after they get a DUI. Tulsa drivers can expect to see a 42.34% increase in their yearly car insurance rates after a DUI. The average driver pays $1,472.03, and will see yearly premiums increase to $2,095.36 after a DUI.


5. Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock had 40 fatal alcohol-related deaths from 2010 to 2012. Since Lubbock has about 230,000 people, that means the city had 0.1743 accidents per 1,000 residents during that period — more than twice the national average.

On average, Lubbock residents pay $1,128.53 for car insurance. After a DUI, the average Lubbock driver’s insurance rates will go up about 55.34% to $1,753.01 a year.

For the full report, check out NerdWallet online.


In Summary

The NerdWallet study shows in simple terms where DUIs and alcohol-related fatalities are at their worst. Interestingly enough, high fatalities do not necessarily translate into high insurance premium hikes, but what the data doesn’t point out are the long-lasting personal and financial impacts a DUI can have on your life. The lesson here: don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink, wherever you may find yourself.

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