Are Houstonians More Likely To Drink and Drive?

H-town and two other Texas cities have some of the worst drunk driving fatality rates in America.
Sat January 12, 2013 2:00 am
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Houston, Dallas, and Austin are cities with some of the most fatal car crashes involving intoxication in the country, according to a report that analyzed incidents in the country’s 25 most populous cities. Houston ranked second, Dallas fifth, and Austin seventh, with Fort Worth close behind at number 13 in the study recently put out by software company IDV Solutions on their UXBlog. 

John Nelson, author of the analysis, ranks the 25 cities against four separate metrics:

1. Population 
2. Fatal car accidents per capita 
3. Fatal car accidents involving intoxication per capita
4. The rate of fatal car accidents involving intoxication--a ratio of lists #2 and #3.

The list of drunken driving fatalities per capita (#3) features even more Texas cities in the top 10; Houston, Dallas, and Austin are joined by Fort Worth and San Antonio. 

Houston and Dallas are examples of cities that are just plain bad for driving, regardless of intoxication, The Atlantic Cities commented. Between 2001 and 2010, the period covered in Nelson’s review, both cities’ rates of fatal car crashes were more than one per one thousand residents--an alarmingly high percentage. Austin starts out fairly low on the list of per capita fatal car crashes but rises to the top for the percentage of those crashes involving intoxication.

Urban sprawl may be a contributing factor to Houston and Dallas’ high rankings. If you go out drinking in Dallas without a designated driver in tow, the Dallas Observer blog notes, you basically have two choices: “pay an ungodly amount for a cab or drive drunk and hope for the best.” Unfortunately, the city’s spread seems to give local drivers a few too many opportunities to make the wrong decision. 

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