Of the top 20 most populous cities in the United States, San Diego has the largest percentage of drivers with DUI / Drunk Driving / alcohol-related driving convictions.
San Diego seeks money for DUI enforcement
San Diego most likely tops the list because its police departments are aggressive in making DUI arrests, and officers there arrest lots of drunk drivers, says Mark McCullough, a San Diego police department spokesperson specializing in DUI issues.
A sergeant and five specialized officers in San Diego spend 40 hours a week just stopping and arresting DUI offenders. In addition, McCollough writes applications for grants to fund around 20 sobriety checkpoints a year, plus special “saturation patrols”: Trained officers watch traffic for tell-tale drivers’ errors — not just obvious signs like weaving, but subtler indications like stopping too long at an intersection.
“The arrests are directly proportionate to the amount of grant money we get,” he says. “It’s a sad state of affairs but it’s true.”
San Diego’s record for most DUI or drunk driving convictions, could be based on:
* More drinkers and partiers in general
* Less public transportation, so more bar-hoppers are driving home
* Better enforcement of DUI laws, so more convictions
California has long been the epicenter for drunk driving.
A brief history of drunk driving
Between 1982, when state and local governments started tracking drunk-driving arrests, and the mid-1990s, the percentage of people killed by drunk drivers plummeted. And it’s stayed down, per Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a non-profit research and communications group funded by major auto insurers.
MADD was founded in 1980. Groups immediately sprang up around the country and three big changes took place:
* Within three years, states and communities passed 129 new laws to stop drunk driving, according to MADD.
* The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984, making it illegal in every state to drink in public or buy alcohol before age 21.
* In 2000, Congress forced states to make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or less. States had to comply or lose federal highway funding.
Cities with the most drunk driving offenders
1. San Diego
2. San Jose, Calif.
3. Charlotte, N.C.
5. Columbus, Ohio
7. Los Angeles
8. San Francisco
9. Austin, Texas
10. Jacksonville, Fla.
11. San Antonio
14. Fort Worth, Texas
15. Memphis, Tenn.
17. New York