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South Dakota tops list of “Worst States for DUI”

Americans love lists. We have all seen lists of the best cities to live in, worst cities to live in; lists of the most dangerous jobs; best and worst cars; and so on. Sometimes, topping a list is cause for celebration and other times, sitting atop a list can be disappointing.

Few in Sioux Falls will celebrate the news that South Dakota tops the list of “Worst States for DUI.” According to the FBI’s 2018 crime report (the most recent year for which there’s complete data), South Dakota has the highest rate of DUI arrests per 100,000 people in the nation.

Our rate of 721.9 easily tops second-place North Dakota’s 678.4. Our drunk driving arrest rate is a jaw-dropping 16 times greater than Delaware’s rate, which is lowest in the nation at 44.3.

10 worst states

  • South Dakota: 721.9
  • North Dakota: 678.4
  • Wyoming: 676.1
  • North Carolina: 518.8
  • Mississippi: 462.2
  • New Mexico: 459.7
  • Maine: 434.2
  • Washington: 430.2
  • Alaska: 429
  • Wisconsin: 425.3

Ten best states

  • Delaware: 44.3
  • Illinois: 98.6
  • Massachusetts: 140.7
  • Louisiana: 142.9
  • Florida: 151
  • Ohio: 152.3
  • Alabama: 208.1
  • Connecticut: 216.4
  • Arkansas: 2
  • Missouri: 6

South Dakota’s perch at or near the top of the “Worst States for DUI” list has been consistent for years, says the US Drug Test Centers. We have been in the top spot for the four most recent years, and placed second in four out of five of the previous years. Our best finishes were in 2009 and 2012, when South Dakota placed third.

The report is crammed with interesting facts. For instance, three-quarters of all drunk driving arrests across the nation are of men. Women comprise only 25.6 percent of all DUI busts.

A decline in the arrest rate

Perhaps unsurprisingly, DUI arrest rates tend to decline as people age. While the very youngest drivers (under 21) accounted for only 4.2 percent of all drunk driving arrests, the next youngest demographic accounted for slightly more than one third.

  • Ages 21 to 29: 33.1 percent
  • 30 to 39: 26.7 percent
  • 40 to 49: 16.8 percent
  • 50 to 59: 12.1 percent
  • 60-plus: 5.9 percent

Not only is South Dakota known for our high DUI arrest rate, we’re also famous for our strict drunk driving laws and harsh punishments. If you have been charged with drunk driving, contact a Sioux Falls attorney experienced in protecting your freedom, driver’s license and rights with effective DUI defense.