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How does Texas rank in drunk driving deaths?

Many Texans are probably aware that our state leads the nation in total drunk driving deaths. According to data from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, almost 1,300 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2012. Of these, 169 were under 21 years of age, the most deaths in this age category of any state.

Of course, Texas is a big state, and when the numbers are adjusted for population they don't look quite as bad. They still indicate a serious problem, however. Texas ranked tenth among the 50 states in drunk driving deaths per 100,000 population. Five people out of every 100,000 were killed in a drunk driving accident in 2012.

Other data about alcohol consumption in Texas provides some context for the drunk driving numbers. Beer consumption is ninth highest in the country, with the average Texan downing 34.4 gallons per year. Underage drinking is not as much of a problem on a per capita basis in Texas as in some other states. But given the state's population, the total number of arrests for underage drinking - 3,610 in 2012 - is among the highest in the country.

The good news is that DWI arrests in Texas were second highest in the country, at 85,436. The only state with more DWI arrests was California.

When someone is killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, surviving family members have the right to sue the drunk driver for negligence and recover damages. In some cases it is also possible to sue the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver. Consulting an experienced Texas wrongful death attorney can be a family's first step in seeing that justice is done.

Source: 247wallst.com, "States With the Most Drunk Driving," Vince Calio, accessed Jan. 26, 2015

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