New Jersey Named One of ‘Least Drunk Driving’ States

The coronavirus pandemic has kept much of New Jersey from getting to and from work, and from attending social gatherings. Still, the number of drunk driving deaths rose significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, according to national data.

A new analysis of that data, however, suggests that New Jersey was one of the states with the “least drunken driving” in 2020.

“New Jersey is actually hands down one of the best. New Jersey has done very well two years in a row,” said Leo Waldenback, co-founder of Zutobi, an online educational resource for drivers.

Zutobi’s DUI report ranks New Jersey fourth among states, based on a number of key metrics such as DUI arrests and DUI deaths.

Per 100,000 drivers, New Jersey had about 230 impaired driving arrests in 2020, according to the report. That number exceeds 300 in many states and exceeds 900 in South Dakota.

According to the report, 25% of all New Jersey road deaths in 2020 were the product of drunk driving. The rate was 30% nationally. There were 2.4 DUI road deaths in New Jersey per 100,000 drivers. Only New York, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia recorded lower rates.

Still, 151 people lost their lives in New Jersey due to drunk driving in 2020, according to the report. That figure represents a 17.1% jump from 2019. The national tally jumped 15% year-over-year.

“I thought all road deaths would go down in 2020, drunk driving would go down, distracted driving would go down. But we’ve seen quite the opposite,” Waldenback said.

New Jersey in 2020 saw an increase in motor vehicle fatalities – 549 fatal wrecks that resulted in 587 fatalities, according to New Jersey State Police data. The numbers were even higher in 2021.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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