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Ranking Indiana’s Most Dangerous Counties for Drunk Driving

| Nov 20, 2018 | Car Accidents

Counties Where IN Drivers Are at Highest Risk of Being Hit by a Drunk Driver

No matter where you live in Indiana, each time you hit the road, you risk sharing it with drunk drivers.

But some parts of Indiana have a bigger drunk driving problem than others.

Below, we analyze state-specific data from the Indiana State Police Traffic Crash Data to identify the Indiana counties where drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are at greatest risk of being hit or killed by a drunk driver.

While DUI accidents unquestionably happen all across the state of Indiana, and while there are certainly drunk driving deaths in nearly every county, the problem is especially pronounced in certain parts of the state.

And as we’ll see below, once you adjust the numbers for population size, the most dangerous counties aren’t always the ones you’d expect.

Indiana Counties with the Highest Percentages of DUI Accidents & Deaths

Let us begin by looking at the total number of auto accidents in each Indiana county and then asking, “In what percentage of accidents is alcohol a factor?”

By that metric, the five Indiana counties with the highest percentages of alcohol-related auto accidents (both fatal and non-fatal, unadjusted for population) are as follows:


As raw figures on a chart, those numbers may not strike you as outstanding. “Five percent,” you might think, “…that’s not so bad.”

But when you express that same number as a real-world scenario, the number makes a bigger impact. Consider, for example, there were over 1200 auto accidents in Newton County in 2017… and out of every 100 of those auto accidents, more than 3.5 of them involve a drunk driver. That adds up to a lot of DUI’s over time, which means far too many preventable injuries and deaths. Are you comfortable with those numbers for your next drive through Pike County?

Indeed, the numbers become even more alarming when we ask a slightly different question: “How often is alcohol involved in each county’s traffic fatalities?”

With that question in mind, our chart (still unadjusted for population) looks like this:

Stated differently, in Ohio County, anytime someone dies in a car crash, there’s a 50% chance that drunk driving is to blame (statistically speaking). That’s well above the national average (which stands at about 32% according to the NHTSA, or about 28% according to the CDC). More to the point, Ohio County is the least populous county in the state of Indiana, making the high DUI death rate there unacceptable.

Fatal DUI Accidents & Deaths Per Capita, by County

So far, we have only looked at the raw totals for each county and then asked how many of those involve alcohol.

But when we look at accident totals by population, we get a very different ranking of Indiana’s most dangerous counties for drunk driving.

In many ways, per capita numbers tell us more about the dangers of DUI in a given location. After all, we might expect a large total number of drunk drivers in a county with a very large population. But in smaller counties, smaller numbers of intoxicated motorists can actually be an even bigger problem, because the relative risk of collision is higher.

The ten Indiana counties with the highest number of drunk driving accidents per capita are as follows:

The ten Indiana counties with the highest number of drunk driving deaths per capita are as follows:

Why isn’t Ohio County on this list? We mentioned earlier that Ohio is the least populous county in Indiana and also has the highest DUI death rate in the state. You might be surprised, then, to find that it doesn’t appear at all on the chart above. That’s because Ohio County actually has a relatively low total number of fatal auto accidents (only two in 2017, one of which involved alcohol, resulting in a 50% death rate).

In other words, there are a lot of ways to look at the NHTSA data. Is Ohio one of the most dangerous counties for drunk driving in Indiana (because of its high death rate) or one of the safest counties (because of its low totals)?

To attempt to rationally answer that question, we’ve combined all of this data to arrive at an overall DUI danger ranking for the counties of Indiana. To give an overall rank each county, we averaged each counties rank in the following categories:

  • Of all accidents in each county, what percent were DUI accidents?
  • Of all DUI accidents in each county, what percent were fatal accidents?
  • Most DUI accidents per 10,000 residents
  • Most DUI fatalities per 10,000 residents

Click a county in the map below to view it’s rank for each category and overall rank.

Ranking Indiana’s Most Dangerous Counties for Drunk Driving (Overall)

Click on a county for more information about its ranking

The ten worst counties for drunk driving in the state of Indiana are as follows:

  • 10. Newton
  • 9. Steuben
  • 8. Brown
  • 7. Tipton
  • 6. Franklin
  • 5. Owen
  • 4. Clinton
  • 3. Blackford
  • 2. LaGrange
  • 1. Gibson

Gibson County already appeared on several of the lists above, so it may come as no surprise that Gibson also earns the overall worst score for drunk driving in Indiana. For that matter, we’ve seen several of these counties on multiple lists already — LaGrange, Blackford, Clinton, and Newton.

What about the least dangerous counties for drunk driving, you ask? While no county in Indiana earned a perfect score, the five counties with the lowest overall danger scores were:

  •  Pulaski (rank: 92)
  •  Fayette (rank: 91)
  •  Johnson (rank: 90)
  •  Warrick (rank: 89)
  •  Ripley (rank: 88)

Interesting Facts and Additional Observations About Drunk Driving in Indiana

  • Though Indianapolis is the most populous city in the state, Marion County only ranks as the 67th most dangerous county for drunk driving in Indiana.
  • Only 1.17% of Marion County’s auto accidents involve alcohol. But DUI is a factor in 23.01% of Marion County’s traffic fatalities.
  • Marion County sees 0.89 DUI deaths for every 100,000 residents.
  • Seven Indiana counties reported zero DUI fatalities in 2017: Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Carroll, Wabash, Fountain, and Union.

For more on the most dangerous counties for drunk driving in Indiana explore the interactive map we’ve created above.

Talk to an Indiana DUI Accident Lawyer at Doehrman Buba Ring

Far too many people have lost their lives at the hands of drunk drivers in Indiana. As the numbers above show, the problem persists here despite decades of awareness and renewed efforts by law enforcement.

If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a DUI accident, you may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation under the laws in our state.

Before you accept a settlement from an insurance company, we urge you to contact our office to talk about your options. You may be entitled to more than you realize.

We will not charge you a fee unless we are successful in recovering compensation for your claim. To learn more, please contact Doehrman Buba Ring and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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Thomas C. Doehrman

Doehrman Buba Ring

Thomas C. Doehrman is a founding partner of Doehrman Buba Ring. With more than 30 years of personal injury experience in Indianapolis, Tom has successfully represented countless serious personal injury and accident victims and helped them obtain justice against those who have caused them harm.

Tom is nationally renowned for his skilled representation of persons with traumatic brain injuries and was the President of the Brain Injury Association of Indiana (BIAI)

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