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Texas drunk-driving trends compared to national numbers

Thanks to numerous organizations and campaigns, awareness of drunk driving is very high. Education and legislation have brought favorable results. In fact, the national rate of fatalities from drunk driving has gone down 63 percent since 1982, with an 80 percent drop in accidents for underage drinkers, shares

However, numbers vary from state to state. How does Texas fare compared with national trends?

Where Texas is doing well

The good news is that, in some areas, Texas is doing better than national averages. The state has a slightly lower percentage of drivers with a BAC at or above 0.15 percent and of repeat offenders with a BAC below 0.15. It also has a lower rate of alcohol consumption among those not yet 21 years old.

Where Texas need to improve

The bad news is that Texas is doing worse in more areas than it is doing well. The numbers for these categories are higher than national trends:

  • Percentage of underage fatalities from drunk driving
  • Fatalities per 100,000 people for both above 21 years old and below
  • Change in fatalities from 2008 to 2017 (Texas had an increase, whereas the nation overall had a decrease)
  • Repeat offenders with a BAC greater than 0.15

The decrease in underage fatalities from 2008 to 2017 was nearly four times lower than the nation's decrease (7.5 percent compared to 28.7). Obviously, Texas has some work to do in getting intoxicated drivers off the road.

What this means for you

While, overall, the trends are better than in years past, too many deaths still happen from drunk driving. These numbers do not even include nonfatal accidents, so the risk is even higher when you take this into account.

Use precaution to avoid an accident with a drunk driver. Avoid driving late at night, especially around holidays when more people consume alcohol. Report and stay away from dangerous drivers. Always wear a seat belt, and avoid distractions, so you can notice hazards right away. 

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