Top American Cities for DWI

An auto insurance group has reviewed its data and generated a list of the 20 most populated US cities with the most drunk driving violators. While the list compiled by shows relative numbers of DUI/DWI arrests in each of the cities, there is much debate as to the reasons for the number of arrests. Several factors influencing drunk driving arrests include; younger population centers, availability of mass transit, areas with a greater car culture and aggressiveness of law enforcement efforts to combat drinking and driving.

The ranking was determined by taking the 20 largest cities by population, reviewing the total number of requests for insurance quotes from each city and analyzing those requests for drivers indicating at least one alcohol related traffic offense on their driving record. The list then reflects a percentage of drunk driving offenders to general population. Note that no statistics were available for Boston.

Having a DUI/DWI conviction on your driving record can result in cancellation of auto insurance or significantly higher premiums, driving limitations and in many states, the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

US cities with the highest percentage of drunk driving offenders:

  • 1. San Diego, CA
  • 2. San Jose, CA
  • 3. Charlotte, NC
  • 4. Phoenix, AZ
  • 5. Columbus, OH
  • 6. Indianapolis, IN
  • 7. Los Angeles, CA
  • 8. San Francisco, CA
  • 9. Austin, TX
  • 10. Jacksonville, FL
  • 11. San Antonio, TX
  • 12. Dallas, TX
  • 13. Houston, TX
  • 14. Fort Worth, TX
  • 15. Memphis, TN
  • 16. Philadelphia, PA
  • 17. New York, NY
  • 18. Baltimore, MD
  • 19. Chicago, IL
  • 20. Detroit, MI

The Facts on Drunk Driving Insurance and Rates

Driving under the influence (DUI) is never a good idea. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of automobile crashes and the number one cause of death amongst drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Not only will such an incident impact your life and the lives of others in a negative way, but it will also result in an increase in drunk driving insurance premiums. All State have strict rules against drunk driving.

  • If you have ever considered, at one time or another, getting behind the wheel drunk, then these facts should sober you up.
  • The aftermath of a DUI charge could entail a substantial fine and criminal charges that will stay on your permanent driving record for three years after conviction, as well as facing the possibility of probation.
  • Drunk driving insurance premiums will significantly increase once you are placed into the high risk category. They may double or even triple for the first year and then remain at a higher rate for the next 3 to 6 years.
  • If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or over, you will likely face criminal charges. Not only will your license be suspended immediately for 90 days (depending on whether it is a first time or repeat offense), but you could also be given jail time.
  • Add on the fees for legal representation, and the potential need to take time off work, and you may find yourself in debt for thousands of dollars.

Minimum Sentences

First Offense: $1,000 fine and a 12-month suspended license
Second Offense: 30 day jail sentence and 24-month suspended license
Third Offence: 120 day jail sentence and a 36-month suspended license
depending on state

Treatment Programs

Depending on the gravity of the offense and the rules of your state of residence, you may be required to take an alcohol education and treatment program. In some cases, an Ignition Interlock device may be installed in your vehicle, which prevents the motor from starting if your blood alcohol level is more than the set limit. This device necessitates that you give breath samples at set times, when you are in the car. If you do not comply, an alarm will sound until you turn the ignition off. This handy device costs about $125 for installation and involves a monthly maintenance fee as well.

DUI and Drunk Driving Insurance Rates

Having a DUI on your record will negatively affect your insurance. Even if you are not convicted, insurance companies will be examining your records in order to set your drunk driving insurance rate, doubling or tripling them for up to the next 6 years. Some insurance providers might even rate you as an assigned risk, while others may cancel your policy outright, leaving you without insurance protection.


If you get into an accident because of drunk driving, you can be held liable for automobile damages to your own car and to any other involved parties. If anyone is injured in the accident, you can be held responsible for personal injury and may face a suit. You might be forced to pay the medical bills of the injured person(s), which can lead to another day in court if you are being sued for additional damages. You will need legal representation; lawyer fees are costly.

Drunk Driving Insurance Renewal

When comes time to renew your automobile insurance, you will have to start from scratch, having to show a flawless driving record. Insurance companies will go back three years in your file, which must indicate that you are absolutely clean in the eyes of the law - no speeding tickets or traffic violations of any type, otherwise your drunk driving insurance rate will be substantial. In order to return to your pre-DUI status and get lower rates, your record has to be clean for as long as 6 years after the incident.

There are hefty sanctions against drivers foolish enough to drink and drive, so before you get behind the wheel of a car intoxicated, ponder the potential consequences of your action. In the long run, drunk driving can cost you more than you can afford.

Drunk Driving Stats - What you need to Know

Sadly, most of us have either been involved in an alcohol-related auto accident ourselves, or know someone who has. Despite widespread awareness and increased education concerning its inherent dangers, drinking and driving still happens to the point that hundreds of thousands of alcohol-related automobile accidents happen each and every year on American roads. Worse yet, many of these accidents result in serious injury or death. Perhaps worst of all - every last one of them is avoidable.

The drunk driving statistics surrounding alcohol-related car accidents are sobering, to say the least. It is estimated that alcohol-impaired driving is responsible for 36 deaths and 700 drunk driving injuries every day in the United States. In 2012, for example, more than 10,300 people were killed in drunken driving accidents, with a life being lost about every 51 minutes. And while this high prevalence might mean dollar signs for a DUI accident attorney, for most of us, it's an unavoidable and unnecessary expense that can cost anywhere from $5000 - $12000 for a first-time offender.

In addition to the hefty toll is takes on America's safety and emotional well-being, drunk driving is estimated to cost the United States more than $132 billion dollars a year, which breaks down to nearly $500 annually per adult.

And as scary as the financial drunk driving statistics may be, they pale in comparison to some of the facts about drunken driving offenders. For example, a typical driver arrested for a DUI drove drunk an average of 80 times before his or her first arrest, and somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to get behind the wheel following their conviction despite lacking a valid license. And while drunken driving statistics show that the average drunken driver is male and between 21 and 25 years of age, it's still largely an indiscriminate issue that can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, geography or creed.

Drunk driving affects Americans of all ages. In 2010 for example, 17 percent of all traffic deaths among children 14 years of age or younger were alcohol-related. More than half of the affected children in that 17 percent were riding in the car alongside the impaired driver.

A drunken driving accident or conviction is a major life-changer, regardless of whether someone is the responsible party or an innocent victim. The financial toll such an incident takes is problematic enough, but it doesn't even begin to compare to the emotional repercussions that can result following an alcohol-related crash

The Scariest part of Halloween

The scariest part of Halloween isn’t the spooky costumes and haunted houses. It’s the fact that far too often people don’t plan ahead for a safe way home before drinking alcohol. Every year we hear the stories of Halloween celebrations turned tragic for innocent people enjoying the holiday.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost half (48%) of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities on Halloween night in 2012 involved a drunk driver. These numbers usually are even higher when the holiday falls on a weekend like it does this year.

This Halloween, DD of A urges both corporate party goers and trick-or-treaters to plan ahead to help keep everyone safe.

Going trick-or-treating:

  • Be extra alert when crossing the street.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing or add reflective tape to costumes and treat buckets.
  • Bring a flashlight (with extra batteries) so you can see and be seen at night.

Attending a party:

  • Designate a non-drinking driver before you head out to make sure you and your loved ones arrive home safely.
  • Save the number of a local cab service in your phone or download a ride-share app prior to heading out.
  • Consider hiring a shuttle or limousine service to transport you and your friends to and from your event.
  • Arrange a hotel stay for you and your friends on the evening of the event so no one drives home impaired.

Hosting a Halloween party:

  • Never serve alcohol to those under the age of 21.
  • Plan safe parties, including providing non-alcoholic drink options to guests.
  • Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Be prepared to get everyone home safe by having the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride.
  • Be ready with some clean linens so you can turn your sofa into a hotel for guests who need to stay the night.

Legislature Democrats Lead Approval of STOP-DWI Designated Driver Funding

The Erie County Legislature, led by the Democratic Majority Caucus, unanimously approved establishing a Designated Driver Program through the county STOP-DWI Office at its June 21 session.

            The Erie County Designated Driver Project will be a unique transport system that integrates DWI preventative alcohol service practices in the daily management of retail alcohol establishments as it seeks to improve DWI enforcement through increased use of safe, reliable and low-cost transport of intoxicated patrons and vehicles to their residences. 

            The funding for the program, $19,000 in 2012, was all privately donated, with no county funds or DWI fine revenue involved, and is in the STOP-DWI Reserve Account. Among the donors, who have contributed $20,250.42, are the Erie County Police Chiefs Benevolent Association, Erie County Restaurant Association, Budweiser, Diageo, InBev, Molson, Coors and SAB Miller Brewing.

            “In this new business model, Designated Drivers of Buffalo Inc. (DDoB) will provide a drive-home solution by supplying two drivers  to deliver the patron and their vehicle to their residence at the same time,” Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) said. “The patrons will always ride in their own vehicles and DDoB supplies additional insured liability insurance. The per-ride cost would be comparable to a two-way taxi service. We hope to provide up to 500 rides from the launch to January 1, 2013.”

            The program will include an Independence Day launch July 4, an advertising campaign, promotional materials, on-premise advertising, server training on how to identify intoxicated patrons and intervention procedures to prevent drunk driving, reduce cost to the patron and restricted entry. STOP-DWI, in conjunction with DDoB, would initially recruit up to 20 establishments to participate, and consideration will be given to geography, DWI Last Drink data and the practical locations of Erie County’s entertainment districts.


Local services offer alternatives to driving drunk after night out

One year after being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, David Berndt now knows that he should have thought things through.

Berndt and a neighbor were on their way to Jim’s Steakout after a night of drinking last August when he passed an Amherst police officer at 55 mph in a 40 mph speed zone. He was pulled over, failed every sobriety test and blew a .14 on the Breathalyzer.

Even now he kicks himself for his hubris in thinking he wouldn’t get caught.

“Since I was engaging in this risky behavior all summer, I trusted myself that I could drive appropriately and not get pulled over,” he said. “I knew that I was drunk, but I was so accustomed to being able to drive home all of the other times without getting pulled over so I thought to myself, ‘Hey, what’s one more time?’”

Many people have this same mind set when they get behind the wheel after drinking. According to, 38 percent of fatal car accidents in the U.S. in 2011 were alcohol-related. In 2007, over 28,500 arrests were made for DUIs in New York State alone, according to DUI-USA on

Unfortunately for Berndt, this was the last time. His license was suspended for six months, and he faced almost $4,000 in fines and a bout of therapy sessions. He had just turned 21 that summer.

“My mom was the person that was most upset with me,” he said of the fallout. “My dad was disappointed but he told me that these things happen and it’s a life experience that you learn from.”

Many students at Buffalo State prefer to drink in safer environments, where they can sleep if they are too intoxicated to drive. Berndt actually went to a bar within walking distance of his house.

The issue of drunk driving arose when he and his neighbor wanted food from a restaurant.

What many students may not know is that there are services provided for just that occasion. Takeout Taxi Buffalo ( is an affordable service that will order your food and drop it off at your front door from a selection of 30 different restaurants across the Greater Buffalo area.

There are even more safe alternatives to getting home after a night out.

A company called Designated Drivers of Buffalo will come pick you up and drop you and your car off at your home safely. Their service is targeted toward patrons who drove to the bar but are too drunk to drive home and would rather not leave their car parked elsewhere.

The service, however, can be pricey on a college student’s budget, with flat rates for non-members starting at $35 and then tacking on $3.50 per mile.

Taxicab rates are generally considerably cheaper.

After working in the hospitality industry for 15 years, Designated Drivers founder Michael Mulé saw many people being affected by the actions of drunk drivers.

“I saw a need because the reality is that people were driving drunk, and it was affecting not only the person driving, but (also) the families involved,” he said.

According to Mulé, the company is working on a student rate policy, but they do offer memberships at lower prices for frequent customers.

He also reasoned that the prices are higher than a taxi because two employees travel with each call in order to drive the customer’s car, too.

For students pinching their pennies, many still resort to the free “buddy system.”

A group of friends can work out where each person takes turns in being the responsible driver.

Many students’ parents would also be willing to drive and pick up their kids than have them drive drunk.

“There would be nothing in the world she could ever do that would be more disappointing than to find out she put herself in harm’s way,” Candice Black said about her daughter drinking and driving. “Not only that, but it would upset me greatly to think that she wouldn’t want to come to me for help when she was in trouble.”

Berndt knows that the consequences of his actions last year are nothing compared to what could have happened had he been in a fatal accident.

“I learned a very valuable lesson,” he said. “I am so glad I didn’t hurt anyone. It is not worth risking your life, your money or your career to drink and drive.”


Most NFL teams offer players safe rides programs

NEW YORK -- Braylon Edwards didn't have to get behind the wheel. He could have made a simple phone call and avoided arrest for driving drunk.

The New York Jets receiver didn't take advantage of two programs aimed at preventing just what happened Tuesday by providing players rides when they are too impaired to drive.

More than two-thirds of the 32 NFL teams, including the Jets, have such programs, which stress confidentiality. The NFL Players Association also has a program, and the league has one for non-players.

The union's round-the-clock program, which it took over from the league in 2009 at the NFLPA's request, is available in all NFL cities and some additional areas. There are no out-of-pocket fees for players except the cost of the ride.

"We wanted to do it for every player," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said. "If it overlaps with a team's program, great."

The NFL's program, Safe Ride Solutions, covers all other club and NFL employees.

The overlapping programs of the union and the Jets -- theirs is called PlayerProtect -- apparently were ignored by Edwards. He was arraigned on drunken-driving charges Tuesday after a breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when he was stopped on Manhattan's West Side around 5 a.m., prosecutors said.

PlayerProtect promotes itself as "a 24-hour, full service security and security driving company that caters exclusively to professional athletes. PlayerProtect agents are current or former law enforcement officers and are authorized to carry their weapons in all 50 states. Security details can also be arranged for locations outside the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area for an additional fee."

Twenty-two of the 32 teams told The Associated Press they have programs for the players that supplement the union's coverage.

Six teams did not respond to requests for information on safe rides for players: Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

The Chicago Bears said they don't have a program. Spokesman Scott Hagel said in an e-mail to the AP: "My understanding is the NFLPA has a service that accommodates all the NFL teams."

The Cleveland Browns said they are in discussions with a company to provide supplemental coverage to the union's policy for players.

Neither of the 2010 Super Bowl teams provided information. Spokesmen for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts both said they don't discuss such programs.

The Buffalo Bills are among the most proactive teams in trying to safeguard players who recognize they shouldn't get behind the wheel. The Bills have two programs: "A Safe Way Home" and "Designated Drivers of Buffalo."

Front-office personnel also encourage players to use the NFLPA program "when they are outside of Buffalo, at home, for example, during the offseason," Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said in an e-mail.

"We first recommend to players that if they are going out as a group to plan ahead and select one person who will refrain from drinking alcohol and serve as a designated driver," Berchtold said. "If they are not planning to select a designated driver from the group or if they are not in a group setting, we have two programs they can utilize."

The Texans have a similar program with Red Carpet, a Houston transportation company. Players and other employees set up service with the company individually, so the Texans aren't necessarily aware if any employee uses the service -- unless charges aren't paid.

"Again, use of Red Carpet is voluntary, but we encourage you to use this service or some alternate means of transportation should you find yourself in an impaired situation," the team says in a letter to all its employees, including players. "Your safety and the safety of others are critical."

The Griffin Runway: The Little White Dress Event

Yes, we’re too young, and yes, our top priority right now is school and grades, but let’s be real –— who among us hasn’t pictured their wedding day? It’s every girl’s dream to be a princess fairytale bride with a fabulous day just for them. We watch “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Four Weddings” religiously and admire different white dresses on Pinterest even though some of us are more single than a dollar bill. It’s never silly to daydream, especially if you’re a girl who wants her day to be completely flawless. I may be 18 years old, but on Wednesday, Nov. 6, I attended the Little White Dress Event at Shea’s Performing Arts Center and had an absolutely exquisite night.

The event started with an exposition for brides who are in the market for various services and products for their wedding, including florists, music, and photography. I was impressed by the quality of all of the products at the event. The event was put on by the Buffalo News, more specifically Lisa Cislo, Ann Brooker, and Chris Smith who all seemed more than satisfied with the turnout and vendor presentations. I spoke with each of them and they briefly explained to me how the event is orchestrated.

Cislo and Brooker told me about each of the vendors that participate in the event. The group included Shelly’s Florist, The Mansion on Delaware Avenue, and many more. Smith explained to me that as the marketing manager of the Buffalo News’s special bridal magazine and planner, he invites vendors to pay a fee to be featured in different propaganda supporting businesses and shows like this one.

An interesting vendor that caught my eye was a service to promote drinking responsibly when it comes to getting behind the wheel. Designated Drivers of Buffalo is a specialty company that can be hired for any event to act as a babysitter and drive home guests and their cars that are having a little too much fun. You can also call them unscheduled, for a ride and for transportation of your vehicle. Their busiest business day is unsurprisingly New Year’s Eve.

The Little White Dress Event ended with a bridal fashion show that was breathtaking. Different gowns and tuxes in some different styles glided down a staircase in  front of the theater into a crowd of eager brides-to-be and photographers. My personal favorite was a strapless dress with a sweetheart neckline, crystal studded belt and extra-long train. For the guys, there wasn’t much variety, but one groom sported a bright peach vest under his jacket that made him actually stand out next to his bride. Some girls might not want this at their wedding if they’re aiming to be the center of attention.

It’s okay to daydream and explore wedding options on Pinterest, so long as you don’t get carried away. Boyfriend-less or not, having some ideas ready for the big day is never a crime., Once you do have a ring on your finger, going to an expo and fashion show like the Little White Dress Event can be extremely helpful in making your fairytale dreams a reality.