FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – New statistics measuring the strictness of each state on drunken driving-related criminal offenses lists Connecticut as the seventh strictest state in the country, according to the consumer finance website WalletHub.
Though alcohol-impaired driving still accounted for 31 percent of motor vehicle deaths in 2014, experts say the general trends have such deaths on the decline, according to WalletHub.
States began cracking down on drunken driving in 1980 and in the years between 1982 and 2014, saw a 57 percent decline in alcohol-related driving deaths, according to WalletHub.
Experts believe part of this decline was the result of shifting cultural attitudes about drunken driving. Still, others contend harsher laws and penalties played a substantial role as well, according to WalletHub.
The finance website analyzed the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, looking at 15 factors in each state to determine which are the strictest on drunken driving and which are the most lenient.
The 15 factors, which included the examination of minimum jail time for the first and second convictions, and how long older DUI convictions factor into penalties, were combined to provide each state with its ranking, according to WalletHub.
Connecticut, which came in just behind Kansas and just before Utah, ranked eighth in terms of criminal penalties for drunken driving-related offenses and 10th for the measures it takes to prevent such crimes, according to WalletHub. In total, the state's percentage ranking was 59.09 percent, 25 percentage points behind national leader Arizona.
According to WalletHub, Connecticut was joined in the top 10 by:
- Arizona (1)
- Georgia (2)
- Alaska (3)
- Oklahoma (4)
- Nebraska (5)
- Kanas (6)
- Connecticut (7)
- Utah (8)
- West Virginia (9)
- Texas (10)
- Ohio (47)
- Pennsylvania (48)
- North Dakota (49)
- the District of Columbia (50)
- South Dakota (51)
Regionally, states in the northeast mainly fell in the middle or bottom half of the enforcement list. They include:
- Massachusetts (22)
- New York (30)
- Rhode Island (37)
- New Jersey (44)
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