Residents in Montana often feel proud of their state and its beauty. However, the state has received notoriety for something not quite worthy of typical Montanan pride as it seems to have become a hot spot for drunk drivers.
According to a report by KULR8.com, Montana led the nation for the number of drunk driving deaths in 2018.
In 2018, more than 11 people were killed in drunk driving accidents for every 100,000 drivers licensed in Montana. New Mexico, South Dakota, South Carolina and Wyoming rounded out the top five spots that year. On the other end of the spectrum, Washington, D.C. experienced the fewest number of drunk driving deaths per licensed drivers and Washington State was in the list of five states with the lowest number of such deaths.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 182 people died in motor vehicle accidents across Montana. Of those, 79 died in drunk driving accidents, representing 43% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities that year, up from 31% the prior year. Across the country, 29% of all accident deaths involved alcohol in both 2017 and 2018.
In 2016, Montana recorded 84 drunk driving deaths, accounting for 44% of the overall fatality count that year. Again, the national average for impaired driving deaths was 29%, leaving Montana far ahead of other states.
In 2015, alcohol was a contributing factor in 34% of all vehicular deaths across Montana compared to 29% nationwide. In 2014, alcohol was a factor in 30% of U.S. accident deaths and 38% of Montana’s accident deaths.