The holiday travel season for 2019 is now in full swing. With holiday traffic poised to reach near-record levels, national drunk driving statistics by state recently became public. Data collected in 2018 from organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigations show that North Carolina ranks at number seven, just ahead of neighboring South Carolina at number eight, as one of the top 10 worst states for drunk driving in the country.

The study based its overall DWI severity score for each state on a number of factors. These include the actual number of DWI fatalities and arrests for each state as well as the rates of each per 100,000 people in each state. Another factor is the increase or decrease of DWI fatalities in each state over the previous year.

North Carolina’s overall DWI severity score was 9.24, according to the study. To put that in perspective, the state that ranked the worst for DWI, Wyoming, had a severity score of 12.65. In 2018, there were 421 DWI fatalities in North Carolina, which represented 29% of all traffic deaths and showed a 5% increase compared to 2017. There were 27,915 DWI arrests in North Carolina in 2018, which amounts to over 500 arrests per 100,000 people in the state.

Seven of the 12 states with the highest DWI death rates are in the South, making it the deadliest region for drunk driving in the country. The penalties for driving while intoxicated can continue to affect a person for many years. Therefore, those facing related charges may wish to consult an attorney.