Every state in the grand old U.S. of A has a drinking culture and varying laws that aim to prevent people from going overboard. Some of them are interesting, while some are pretty average.
In Massachusetts, the drinking culture can be super intense, with all the clubs and ancient pubs ready to give people their alcohol fix. Don’t get this all wrong. Enjoying a good pint with your friends is a lot of fun – as long as no one under the influence gets behind the wheel. If everyone practiced this simple safety measure, no one would die in a senseless car crash.
Here are some DUI/DWI stats you should know about if you still plan on driving drunk to avoid having your name in MA arrest records.
In Vino Veritas
One of the most interesting DUI statistics in Massachusetts is the fact that residents self-report drunk driving. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study in 2012 and found that 2.2% of MA residents admit they have a habit of driving drunk. Across the U.S., only 1.9% of people admitted to driving under the influence.
Fatalities Due to DUI
This second stat is a bit of a paradox. With more drivers admitting to driving drunk, DUI deaths in MA should be through the roof. Nope. The CDC study shows the opposite: fatalities due to drunk driving are lower in the state. Although the CDC report is several years old, the numbers were similar in 2017.
- Rate of DUI deaths in Massachusetts: 1.8 per 100k people
- Rate of DUI deaths nationwide: 3.4 per 100k people
- Drunk driving % of Total Fatalities: 34.3%
- Total number of DUI deaths: 120
DUI Deaths by Gender
According to the CDC study, the gender gap in Massachusetts continues, even in DUI deaths.
- Male DUI deaths in MA per 100k people: 2.7
- Female DUI deaths in MA per 100k people: 0.9
Nationwide, the disparity is even wider: 5.2 per 100k for men and 1.5 per 100k for women.
DUI Deaths by Age
According to the 2017 numbers, young people in Massachusetts are most likely to die from a DUI-related incident.
- Total number of under 21 fatalities: 12
- Drunk driving % of Total Fatalities: 26.1%
- Rate of under 21 DUI deaths in Massachusetts: 0.7 per 100k residents
- Rate of under 21 DUI deaths nationwide: 1.2 per 100k residents
DUI Deaths are Dropping
The DUI death rates in Massachusetts have been in steady decline for the past few decades, falling to over 60% from 1982 to 2017. In 1982, traffic fatalities involving alcohol was 407, compared to 154 in 2014 and 120 in 2017. DUI fatalities are dropping because of the state and federal governments’ efforts to reduce the numbers.
The steps taken by state and federal agencies to help reduce the number of DUI deaths include:
Most states, including Massachusetts, have increased the penalties for driving under the influence. The punishment includes a fine of $500 to $ 5,000, a revoked license for a year, and possible jail time.
Lower impairment threshold
In the ’80s, you could drive around with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0l.01% and not get thrown in jail. The national threshold now is 0.08%, with Utah going even lower with 0.05%. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing to emulate Utah’s example.
Unlike in other states, DUI roadblocks are legal in Massachusetts, and police officers set them up in DUI hotspots. Unlike 10-20 years ago, law enforcement is no longer passive when it comes to enforcing DUI laws.
The state started using media awareness campaigns in the ’90s, and the DUI deaths dropped 25% from 1990 to 1999.