SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Utah has one of the lowest fatality rates due to drunken driving in the country, according to a report from a nonprofit group.
The report from the Century Council listed Utah as having the lowest number of alcohol-related driving fatalities in 2005 per 100,000 residents. Utah averaged 1.5 deaths from drunken driving crashes, according to the report. The national average is 5.7 deaths. Montana had the highest number of deaths at 13.3 per 100,000 residents.
The total number of drunken driving deaths in Utah for 2005, the most recent year statistics were available, was 37. That’s the fourth lowest in the country behind the District of Columbia, Vermont and Alaska.
The state with the largest number of alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 was California with 1,719. Florida and Texas also had more than 1,400 deaths each.
The Century Council is a nonprofit group that advocates against drunken driving and is made up of some of the nation’s top distillers. The council said its report was compiled from information collected from several government-run databases including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Not only was Utah’s fatality rate low, it continues to decrease, according to the report.
From 2004 to 2005, Utah had the greatest percentage drop, 50.7 percent, of traffic fatalities involving alcohol and the third biggest drop in fatal accidents involving juveniles, according to the report.
Utah also had just three alcohol-related fatalities involving people under 21 years old in 2005, the study showed. That tied the state for first along with the District of Columbia and Hawaii.
Utah Highway Patrol trooper Preston Raban credits his department and many others across the state for their efforts on curbing drinking.
“Everyone helped to make these numbers go down,” he said.