The best way to prevent drunken driving deaths, as we were repeatedly reminded in the wake of Jerry Brown's death last month, is for drunk people to stop driving.
The obvious problem is that the people who are deciding whether to drive are drunk and, while per capita drunken driving deaths in the U.S. have dropped by two-thirds over the past three decades, are still prone to making terrible decisions. And data, in this case per capita drunken driving fatalities, indicate that drivers in Dallas make the wrong decision more often than in other places.
According to a review of statistics from 2001 to 2010 by software company IDV Solutions, Dallas had the fifth highest rate of drunken driving deaths among the country's 25 largest cities and the fourth highest rate of traffic fatalities overall.
The IDV Solutions post doesn't suggest why some cities, like Dallas, have disproportionately high rates of drunken driving crashes or why other cities, like New York and Philadelphia, have abnormally low rates, but The Atlantic Cities does, suggesting that some cities are simply built to encourage drunk driving.
This should make intuitive sense to anyone who doesn't live in Uptown, Deep Ellum or Lower Greenville and has ever gone out for a few drinks. Assuming no one volunteered to be designated driver, you're basically left with two choices: pay an ungodly amount for a cab or drive drunk and hope for the best. In places like New York, where things are denser and more accessible by foot or by public transportation, there are more viable options.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
That's not to say that people in Dallas have an excuse to drive drunk, just that the data make sense.