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Statistical Worthiness

DrinkingAndDriving.Org does not employ professional statistical analysts. As you will see, we use very simple, freely available data which, by itself, speaks very narrowly, yet effectively to show the effects of drinking and driving in America.  We can claim that our data comes from reliable sources as you’ll find listed below.  We fully and readily admit that we look no deeper than the numbers we work with and we make no claim as to their accuracy.  We also accept that a tremendous number of other potential factors exist which we could have considered alongside the data we present.  But our purpose is clear and we let our massaged and derived numbers speak for themselves.

What Numbers Do We Use?

For the years beginning in 1994 and ending in 2005, DrinkingAndDriving.Org has compiled a list of the number of DUI arrests and DUI-Related fatalities from almost every county in America. We chose this range of years for convenience and consistency. Our various data sources all had data for these years. As time goes by, and as more data becomes available, we will update our data.

Calculations

We took those raw numbers and divided them by the populations of those counties. This gave us a tiny number which represented the percentage of the population in that county which were affected. To make this number more meaningful than “.00045 per person”, we multiply the figure to amplify the result. In the case of DUI arrests, multiplying our resulting fractional figures by 10,000 gives us much less challenging numbers to work with, such as “45 out of 10,000.” Fortunately and logically, fatalities are fewer in number and therefore yield even smaller numbers. We multiply the fatality results by 100,000, again, to achieve end results which are easy for our visitors to grasp.

Finally, we average the county results for comparison and then average the state results for comparison.

Data Sources

Our DUI arrest data comes from FBI statistics. While there is no law compelling counties to provide the FBI with their arrest statistics, over 90% do. The official source and citation text is ... “Suggested Citation: Puzzanchera, C., Adams, B., Snyder, H., and Kang, W. (2007). "Easy Access to FBI Arrest Statistics 1994-2005" Online. Available: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezaucr/

Our DUI-related fatality data comes from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s ftp site at ftp://ftp.nhtsa.dot.gov/fars/.

Census data comes from http://www.census.gov.”

Grades

We grade counties and states on two distinct and simple pieces of data – the number of DUI arrests versus population and the number of DUI-related fatalities versus population.

  • Arrests
  • Grade
  • Counties
  • 0-22
  • A
  • 289
  • 23-38
  • B
  • 440
  • 39-68
  • C
  • 768
  • 69-100
  • D
  • 395
  • 101+
  • F
  • 144

Our DUI arrest grading system is based on deviance from the national average of 60 people per 10,000 arrested for DUI each year. This average is calculated using the DUI arrest rates compiled from FBI statistics and census data. See our Data Disclaimer. Using this average as a basis for grading, we assign a “C” grade to counties ranging from 39-68 arrests (out of every 10,000 people) per year. There are 768 counties which fall into this category. The entire grading breakdown is shown in the box to the right.


  • Fatalities
  • Grade
  • Counties
  • Less Than 1
  • A
  • 9
  • 1-6
  • B
  • 612
  • 6-16
  • C
  • 1568
  • 16-30
  • D
  • 594
  • 30+
  • F
  • 305

Our DUI-related fatality grading system is based on deviance from the national average of 15 people per 100,000 killed for DUI-related accident each year. This average is calculated using the DUI-related fatality rates compiled from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics and census data. See our Data Disclaimer. Using this average as a basis for grading, we assign a “C” grade to counties ranging from 6-16 fatalities per year. There are 1568 counties which fall into this category. The entire grading breakdown is shown in the box to the right.


Each state is graded as an average of their counties’ statistics. You will note that we grade more harshly on fatalities than we do on DUIs. While no state overall is bad enough to earn an F for DUIs, the fatality map shows 5 states earning an F. Why?

According to these statistics, a person is 30 times more likely to die in a DUI-related accident just by living in one of these states.

Imagery

Unless otherwise noted or obvious (such as our logo), photographic imagery used by DrinkingAndDriving.Org was obtained through www.dreamstime.com.

The Penalty Box

The Penalty Box on our County pages displays basic penalties for DUI in your State. This information comes mostly from online DMV driver’s manuals and other government sources. Therefore, this information may focus on licensing penalties. If so, you can expect that other penalties including fines and jail will apply. Be aware that DUI offenses frequently occur along with other offenses which can increase potential penalties. Additionally, penalties are typically more severe if you have a commercial license or pre-existing issues with your license. Sources and further details can be researched at the DMV website listed on your County’s page. Visit your County's page by either using the map on our Home page, or by finding the link for your County within your State on our sitemap.

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