US States With The Highest Number Of Drunk Driving Cases Among High School Students

Drunk driving is a serious problem that carries serious consequences.

The 2011 data by Statista indicates that North Dakota recorded the highest percentage of high school students who drove automobiles while drinking. The top ten US states with the highest number of high school students aged 16 years and older who drive while drunk are North Dakota (14.5%), Wyoming (14.3%), Louisiana (13.9%), Iowa (13.6%), Montana (13.4%), South Dakota (12.7%), Mississippi (12.6%), Texas (12.6%), Wisconsin (12%), and South Carolina (11.7%).

Overview Of The Drunk Driving Issue Across The States

The energetic and adventurous nature of young people coupled with drunk driving has killed and injured many promising persons. Over 10,000 US citizens die annually due to drunk driving. A considerable number of these are high school going youths aged 16 years and above. Many states have put in place checks to counter the rising number of teenage drivers under the influence of Alcohol. However, these efforts have been met with counter measures from high school teenagers, their guardians, and alcohol vendors. Many American films encourage teenage drinking, and even more and more parents are coming out to advocate for the lowering of drinking age to 18 years. On the other hand, there are also several advocacy initiatives targeting teenagers and advising them to stay away from negative peer pressure that may lead them to drunk driving.

Laws That Help Curb Drunk Driving Cases

North Dakota

North Dakota has tough laws targeting persons under the age of 21 years for first, second, third, fourth, and subsequent drunk driving offenses. The penalties include, but not limited to, fines, suspension, and imprisonment. The legal drinking age in North Dakota is 21 years except for religious and other outlined purposes. The law requires suspects to submit to a chemical test at the request of arresting officer. Refusal to take the test is punishable by the law. In some cases, a thorough addiction evaluation may be made to gauge a person’s suitability to handle automobiles. Law enforcement officers in North Dakota have the necessary training to identify drunk drivers through observing factors like lane discipline, speeding, braking, use of lights, signaling, and judgment issues. Law enforcers here also partner with school administrations to fight teenage drinking.


Wyoming state laws are clear that below the age of 21 years, consumption of alcohol is illegal except in the privacy of a person’s home with consenting parents, for religious symbolism, and on prescribed medical grounds. Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol, teenagers soliciting another party to purchase alcohol on their behalf, possession of alcohol, and evidence of drinking attract higher penalties for those under the legal drinking age. In some cases, a parent may consent a particular restaurant to sell alcohol to his/her under school going teenager. However, teenage drunk driving traffic offenses are severely prohibited with or without the parent’s consent due to the high number of teenage related auto accidents. The law is clear that a minor should not even taste alcohol and drive.


Minor in Possession (MIP) laws in Iowa discourages and punishes those under the age of 21 years found drinking or being in possession of alcoholic beverages. These laws are also strict on those who facilitate minors to access alcoholic drinks. However, the MIP laws do not hinder minors from possessing or consuming alcohol at home with a parent’s consent, from a doctors’ prescription, and if the minor handles alcohol during job duties in a licensed facility. There are different penalties depending on the number of offenses. The “Iowa Zero Tolerance for Minors” procedures seek to correct minors before they graduate into adults with drinking problems.

US States With The Highest Number Of Drunk Driving Cases Among High School Students

RankUS State% of high school students who drove a car or vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol in 2011
1North Dakota14.5%
6South Dakota12.7%
10South Carolina11.7%

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