Firm Logo
Call for a Free Consultation215-486-0123

75 U.S. Cities with the Highest Rate of Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents

Did you know that almost one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers? In 2022, a total of 13,524 people in the U.S. were killed in a car accident where a driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. This amounts to one person killed in a drunk driving accident every 39 minutes.

To determine where the highest rate of fatal drunk driving accidents occurs in the U.S., the team at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim compiled data using the NHTSA’s Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool. The study compared the number of fatal drunk driving accidents per 100,000 people in the 300 largest cities in the U.S., between 2018 and 2022. The rate is based on deadly accidents caused by impaired drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, the legal BAC limit for U.S. drivers. The number of impaired drivers whose BAC was 0.15% or higher was also included to highlight the issue of aggravated drunk driving in fatal accidents. Drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.15+ represent a large portion of the impaired drivers that were responsible for fatal drunk driving crashes during this time. Explore the sobering statistics below to see which cities across the U.S. suffer the most from deadly drunk driving accidents.

What City Has the Highest Rate of Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents?

The city with the most drunk driving accidents per capita is Odessa, Texas. Between 2018 and 2022, there were a total of 31 drunk driving accidents that resulted in fatalities, amounting to a rate of 27.46 fatal drunk driving accidents per 100,000 residents. Of the 31 drunk driving accidents, 23 were caused by impaired drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.15% or higher The city of Odessa has a drinking and driving issue that needs to be addressed as the next highest rate for a U.S. city was 32% lower. In February 2024, over just 4 days, law enforcement in Odessa arrested and charged 20 people with impaired driving. A study also found that Texas has the most drunk drivers involved in fatal car crashes, with more than 40% of the drivers found to have a BAC level of 0.08 or higher.

The 10 Cities With the Highest Rate of Drunk Driving Accidents, per 100,000 people

  1. Odessa, TX: 27.46
  2. San Bernardino, CA: 18.15
  3. Pueblo, CO: 17.94
  4. Corona, CA: 15.04
  5. Hartford, CT: 14.91
  6. Midland, TX: 14.13
  7. Dallas, TX: 13.93
  8. Chattanooga, TN: 13.58
  9. Detroit, MI: 13.22
  10. Charleston, SC: 13.01

The BAC legal limit in the United States is 0.08% for drivers 21 years or older. It is considered a crime to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or more and you can be charged with a DWI or DUI depending on the state. The BAC national standard of 0.08 was signed into law by President Clinton on October 23, 2000, after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) led a campaign against drunk driving. The Zero Tolerance Law makes it a criminal offense for drivers under the age of 21 years to operate a vehicle with even a small amount of alcohol in their system, with state limits ranging from 0.00% to 0.02%.

What Is Aggravated Drunk Driving?

When an impaired driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.15% or higher, it is considered to be aggravated driving under the influence. An aggravated DUI charge earns a harsher punishment than the typical DUI charge and can even lead to a felony. At nearly double the legal limit of 0.08, drivers will have far less control of their muscles and the vehicle, have trouble focusing on the road, and lack the visual and auditory information processing necessary for driving safely. On average, two-thirds of fatal drunk driving crashes are caused by a driver with a BAC of 0.15 or more.

As you can see from our study, driving under the influence of alcohol is unfortunately a common occurrence that can lead to deadly results. While thousands of people are killed every year by drunk drivers, even more are left injured after being in an auto accident with an impaired driver. These victims can be left with physical and mental damages, and often don’t get the justice or compensation they deserve. We believe in holding those who choose to drive under the influence responsible for the injuries and fatalities they have caused while doing so. If you live in or around Philadelphia and have been the victim of a drunk driving accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney from our law firm.

The 75 Cities With the Most Drunk Driving Deaths per 100,000 People in the United States

RankCityPopulation (2022)Drivers in Fatal Accidents With a BAC of 0.08+ (2018-2022)Drivers in Fatal Accidents With a BAC of 0.15+ (2018-2022)Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents per 100,000 People
1Odessa, TX112,906312327.46
2San Bernardino, CA220,328402618.15
3Pueblo, CO111,456201717.94
4Corona, CA159,567241715.04
5Hartford, CT120,686181114.91
6Midland, TX134,444191714.13
7Dallas, TX1,299,54418113013.93
8Chattanooga, TN184,086251913.58
9Detroit, MI620,376825913.22
10Charleston, SC153,672201513.01
11Jacksonville, FL971,3191268412.97
12Ontario, CA179,061221612.29
13Waterbury, CT115,016141012.17
14Victorville, CA137,221161111.66
15Lansing, MI112,53713811.55
16Houston, TX2,302,87825818211.20
17Akron, OH188,509211611.14
18Lubbock, TX263,930292410.99
19Tucson, AZ546,574604310.98
20Temecula, CA111,752121010.74
21Lewisville, TX131,21514810.67
22Greensboro, NC301,115321910.63
23Riverside, CA320,764341810.60
24Colorado Springs, CO486,248513510.49
25Ventura, CA109,52711810.04
26San Antonio, TX1,472,9091471169.98
27Glendale, AZ252,13625169.92
28Aurora, CO393,53739319.91
28Moreno Valley, CA211,92421159.91
30Modesto, CA218,06921139.63
31Lakewood, CO156,12015109.61
32Baton Rouge, LA221,45321149.48
33Sacramento, CA528,00150339.47
33Charlotte, NC897,72085569.47
35Fresno, CA545,56751319.35
36Beaumont, TX112,0891078.92
37Vallejo, CA123,56411108.90
38Arlington, TX394,60235258.87
39Louisville, KY624,44454358.65
40Irving, TX254,71522168.64
41Cleveland, OH361,60731208.57
42Kansas City, KS153,34513108.48
43Phoenix, AZ1,644,4091391008.45
43Davie, FL106,513978.45
45Stockton, CA321,81927188.39
46Thornton, CO143,2821288.38
47Billings, MT119,9601078.34
48Kansas City, MO509,29742318.25
49Denver, CO713,25257427.99
50Palmdale, CA163,4631367.95
51Corpus Christi, TX316,23925187.91
52Knoxville, TN195,88915107.66
53Richardson, TX118,802977.58
54Oceanside, CA172,1991387.55
55Fairfield, CA119,338957.54
56Tempe, AZ185,95014117.53
57Nashville, TN683,62251397.46
58Bakersfield, CA410,64730177.31
59Hollywood, FL152,6501177.21
60New Haven, CT138,9151067.20
61Everett, WA111,337847.19
62Lexington, KY320,34723147.18
63Grand Rapids, MI196,90814117.11
63Birmingham, AL196,9101487.11
65Austin, TX974,44769537.08
66Mesa, AZ512,49836227.02
67Richmond, CA114,301847.00
68Scottsdale, AZ243,05017106.99
69Waco, TX143,9841066.95
70Augusta, GA202,09614126.93
71McAllen, TX144,5791066.92
72Gainesville, FL145,2141066.89
73Jackson, MS145,9951086.85
73Pomona, CA146,0171086.85
75Cincinnati, OH309,51321156.78

Related: Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer, Philadelphia car accident lawyer, and Philadelphia personal injury law firm.

Notable Case Results

Always Pursing the Best Possible Outcome

Assault Injury

$1 Million

Tractor-Trailer Accident

$10 Million

Bicycle Accident

$4.8 Million

1 / 4

In the Media

Throughout the years, our firm and our individual attorneys have been recognized in both local and national media for our extensive legal knowledge, experience, and record of success. Our attorneys frequently appear in the media to provide insights and information on various legal matters, including high-profile cases.

    1 / 2

Choosing the Right Firm Can Make All the Difference

  • Unrivaled Record of SuccessWe have won tens of millions of dollars for injured victims, and have achieved countless "not guilty" verdicts for clients faced with criminal charges.
  • No Challenge too BigOur firm has handled some of the biggest cases in country, including representing the President of the United States.
  • Personalized RepresentationWe understand that every case is unique. Therefore, we tailor our approach based on the facts of the case and the needs of our client.
  • Uncompromising PassionOur competitive nature is one of our strongest qualities. You can be confident that no other firm will outwork our team.
  • Holistic ApproachNot only do we want to excel legally for the client, but we also want to make sure we are strengthening their mind, body and spirt.
  • Supporting the CommunityOur team engages in many community events and regularly donates time and resources to many charitable organizations in Philadelphia.

Talk to Our Experienced Team

Home to Philadelphia’s most accomplished attorneys, van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim pairs diverse practice experience with a passion-driven, comprehensive law practice—all for the client’s benefit.

Firm Logo
Allentown Office609 Hamiltion St,Suite 7Allentown, PA 18101Map & Directions
Philadelphia Office1219 Spruce StPhiladelphia, PA 19107Map & Directions
Montgomery County Office411 Cherry St.Norristown, PA 19401Map & Directions
Follow Us
Make A Payment