New Study Ranks New Jersey Fourth for Lowest Drunk Driving Incidents in the US

empty beer bottle and car key behind bars

A recently published report ranking all 50 US states with regard to the number and severity of drunk driving incidents per capita just listed New Jersey fourth lowest overall for the year the data was collected. Although New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states, and has the 11th largest population in the country, the data is based on the average number of incidents per person. The only states with a better ranking are New York (#1), Massachusetts (#2), and Illinois (#3).

According to the same report released by, New Jersey also experienced a 31.1% decrease in DUI incidents since the previous year. Although it is not clear what the cause is for the drastic reduction in DWI numbers, one of the likely contributing factors is the increased attention to drunk driving prevention and DUI enforcement by police departments across the state. This means that, if you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New Jersey, you are more likely than ever to be caught and/or convicted of drunk driving.

How the Rankings Were Decided

The DUI report used multiple sources of data in its rankings including statistics from the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), organizations that collect and aggregate state data. Researchers then created a formula that accounted for the number of DUI incidents including:

  • The number of deaths directly attributable to DUIs,
  • DUI arrests per 100,000 people, and
  • Self-reported drunk driving

A weighted formula was then applied to the data that considered the number of drunk driving incidents and the severity of each incident in order to give a final ranking to each state.

Other Rankings and Data

According to the report, the findings for New Jersey included:

    111 deaths directly attributable to DUIs in New Jersey for 2015

    .20% of all traffic deaths in 2015

    31.1% decrease in incidents from the previous year

    1.24 DUI deaths per 100,000 people

    22,201 total DUI arrests

    248 DUI arrests per 100,000 people

    1.4% of adults who reported drinking too much before driving for 2014

While any number of DUI-related deaths is too many, New Jersey’s rate of 1.24 DUI-related deaths per 100,000 people was the lowest rate of any state in the nation. Between 2003-2012 alone, the CDC reported that 1,816 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in New Jersey. Of those deaths, most were between the ages of 21 and 34.

New York ranked #1 overall with 1.58 DUI-related deaths per 100,000 people, but only 147 DUI arrests per 100,000 people.

The States with the Worst DUI-related Problems are Wyoming (#1), North Dakota (#2), and South Dakota (#3). South Dakota reported 844 DUI arrests per 100,000 people, compared to 838 for North Dakota, and 539 for Wyoming. However, Wyoming also reported the highest number of DUI deaths per capita at 9.56 deaths caused by drunk driving per 100,000 people.

What the Data Means if You Drink and Drive

Make no mistake about it- although the report ranks New Jersey in the top 5 best states for drunk driving incidents, this actually could mean that New Jersey law enforcement officials take DUIs/DWIs even more seriously. This is backed-up by the fact that there was a 31.1% decrease in incidents from the previous year.

Remember, to be considered intoxicated under New Jersey law, drivers only need to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. For some drivers, one drink is enough to reach this level. If a driver is found impaired at any time while operating a motor vehicle, the penalties will be severe, including significant fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time.

At the end of the day, one drink can mean the difference between driving legally and being convicted of drunk driving – which might mean losing the ability to provide for your family or loved ones. If you or someone you know is charged with driving while intoxicated, we recommend you seek the advice of an experienced DWI attorney immediately. An experienced drunk driving lawyer will be able to take the time, sit down with you and review your case, and explain what consequences you are facing in your specific situation. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer can help argue on your behalf to get you the best result possible.

New Jersey DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Drivers Facing DUI/DWI Charges

New Jersey law enforcement officials take drunk driving extremely seriously. If you or someone you know is charged with a DUI or DWI, it is extremely important that you have someone on your side who will take your defense just as seriously. An experienced DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.