Top 20 Cities with the Most Drunken Drivers

In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To prevent or curtail drunken-driving fatalities, nearly 1.43 million drivers were arrested in 2007 on suspicion of driving under the influence. recently released a study ranking the top 20 cities with the most DUI offenders. The study tallies requested insurance quotes and calculates the percentage of people who reported at least one DUI violation. Cities with poor public transportation and strong DUI enforcement ended up toward the top of the list, the study shows.

The worst offender is San Diego, which has a pretty poor public transportation system and a very aggressive police department as it pertains to DUI arrests. San Diego has a sergeant and five specialized officers who spend 40 hours a week just stopping and arresting DUI offenders, according to City officers are trained to watch traffic and search for even slight driver’s errors, such as stopping too long at an intersection.

San Jose, Calif., which ranks No. 2 on the list, says it’s so aggressive at convicting DUI offenders that the city may be going “overboard,” as the county is straining from the costs associated with jailing drunken drivers, according to Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss.

So the list might not necessarily shed light on the cities with the most drunken-driving occurrences, but rather the cities that enforce and convict the most offenders. For all we know, cities that rank low on the list — like Detroit or Baltimore — could have more drivers under the influence, but less enforcement.

The list of the top 20 cities is below.

1.    San Diego, Calif. 
2.    San Jose, Calif. 
3.    Charlotte, N.C. 
4.    Phoenix, Ariz. 
5.    Columbus, Ohio 
6.    Indianapolis, Ind. 
7.    Los Angeles, Calif. 
8.    San Francisco, Calif. 
9.    Austin, Texas 
10.  Jacksonville, Fla. 
11.  San Antonio. Texas 
12.  Dallas, Texas 
13.  Houston, Texas 
14.  Fort Worth, Texas 
15.  Memphis, Tenn. 
16.  Philadelphia, Penn. 
17.  New York, NY 
18.  Baltimore, Mary. 
19.  Chicago, Ill. 
20.  Detroit, Mich.

By Colin Bird | September 28, 2010 | Comments (9)
Tags: Safety


Wow, LA is #7. I don't think there is such a thing as being overzealous when it comes to convicting DUI's although budget constraints may be an issue. I have a constant fear of being hit by a DUI so I tend to stay in during the weekends.

Ben S

There isn't such a thing as being overzealous when it comes to detecting and convicting DUI offenders. Five years ago my cousin was killed by a drunk driver who had four previous violations. Our judicial system has become so liberal that the only way you can protect yourself against a drunk driver is to drive a large SUV and stay off the roads after 8pm.

Jim Beam

San Diego makes sense, large military presence, with the Navy in Coronado and Point Loma, and the Marines at Camp Pendleton.

Lots of young people who tend to binge drink.

Concerned Urbanite

This is what happens when cities don't have any public transportation and/or few/expensive cabs. Indianapolis has a super expensive cab system -- it's no wonder people drink and drive. What other choice do they have?

richard hausner

austin number 9? says more about the police than the citizens!! i was charged with dwi in Austin. jury agreed with me.


I was stopped 3 times in San Diego, each around 2-5AM. Officers provided a "reasonable stop" explanation, but all were bogus, as we both ultimately agreed. They admitted to concerns about DUI. Frankly, I was pleased to see that they were diligent, and all officers were friendly and considerate, and all apologized for the inconvenience.


I should note that San Diego Police and Sheriffs are the best shooters I've seen on the firing line. Do not threaten them!! They do not miss!


The comment from "Concerned Urbanite" was astounding: It's no wonder people get DUI's because "what other choice do they have?". Yes, it's too bad Indy doesn't have cheaper cabs, but so what! Your other choice is to budget a few extra bucks into your evening plans to take those expensive cabs. You budget 7 bucks per drink at a bar, but you can't budget a cab ride? It's time we stop that sort of blame game thinking when it comes to choosing to get hammered and then get behind a 3000 pound moving vehicle.


It is very sad & im sorry for the loss of people who got killed in DUI accidents but plz stop being ignorant as to think accident's happen do to drinkin & driving. Accident's happen period do to not paying attention. Make no mistake that there are far worse sober drivers out there than drunk ones. & if you look at the stats you'll see that accidents that happen from drunk driving is just a very small fracrtion of the accident's in general. I am from san diedo & everything is very spread apart here with horrible public transportation & absolutely nothing after 10pm. Sorry Jeff but not everyone has $60-80 to spend on taxi & dat's just one way. The city makes roughly about $5000-7000 per DUI with around 70 dui's per day (im guesstimation that number because central court convicts about 25-35 per day but there is also north, south, & east county's so the number could be much higher) it would only cost them a fraction of that money to afford to keep the busses running a little longer at least in the weekends but instead they higher more law enforcement to give out more DUI's. This city has found a loophole & screwing it's residents to make money off of them rather than try to fix & help the situation at hand. This is a big issue that can no longer go on without being addressed & something has to be done about this. FIX THIS SHITTY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM SAN DIEGO & STOP SCREWING US!!!! I realize even then few people will still drink & drive thinking they are ok (especially if they never got a dui before)but i bet my life that it will cut down number of drunk drivers by half & probably get rid of repeat offenses altogether.

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