Wisconsin’s Drinking Culture Leads to Numerous DUI Accidents

man's hand on bar holding glass of whiskey next to car keys | Wisconsin’s Drinking CultureA study done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, concluded that the state of Wisconsin is the heaviest-drinking state in the nation. The study found that a full 12 percent of Wisconsin residents engaged in heavy drinking within the past 30 days. Within the state of Wisconsin, residents of Menominee County reported the highest rates of binge drinking—more than a third of county residents admitted to binge drinking within the past 30 days. For the purposes of this study, binge drinking was defined as drinking five or more drinks on one occasion for men, and four or more drinks on one occasion for women.

Factors Involved in Wisconsin’s High Rate of Impaired Driving

While the number of alcoholic beverages consumed by an individual per year has continued to increase across the nation, that number increased even more in Wisconsin. The average number of drinks consumed by one individual in one year is 148 drinks higher in Wisconsin than the national average. The study concluded that the four primary factors contributing to Wisconsin’s drinking culture are:

  • The social norms of the communities within the state
  • The availability of alcohol
  • The acceptability of alcohol use
  • The affordability of alcohol in the state

Alcohol tends to be fairly inexpensive in the state of Wisconsin, and that fact, along with the ready availability, acceptability of alcohol use and social norms of the communities come together to create a “perfect storm” for alcohol consumption. You might wonder how Wisconsin stacks up as far as drunk driving accidents with all the drinking going on. While the study found that alcohol-related deaths are twice as likely to be related to an alcohol-related fall as an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident, alcohol-related crashes killed 190 people in 2015, injuring 2,900. Further, alcohol-related crashes in the state account for at least 4.3 percent of all roadway collisions. Alcohol poisoning, as well as suicides which are related to alcohol are also more common in the state.

Related Article: How to Prevent a Car Accident in the Snow

German Heritage Not to Blame

The large German-heritage population is sometimes listed as yet another contributing factor to drunk driving accidents in the state, however at least one study found Wisconsin residents do not inherit their drinking culture from their heritage. About 43 percent of the residents in the state of Wisconsin claim German roots, and since medieval Germans take credit for the invention of hopped beer, many believe this fact contributes to the high numbers of alcohol consumption in the state.

Julia Sherman, coordinator for the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project in Madison finds this excuse nothing more than a cop-out, saying “It’s been too many generations.” In 1838, the Wisconsin legislature created a dry county in Walworth, in the southern part of the state, and Wisconsin had a temperance association long before there were breweries in the state.

Most Dangerous States for Drunk Driving

In 2016, USA Today named the most dangerous states—at least as far as drunk driving goes. Wisconsin was designated as the fourth-riskiest state for drunk driving, with North Dakota ranking first, Montana, second, and Idaho, third. The study found that higher-than-average alcohol consumption, along with a higher incidence of dangerous driving conditions related to weather resulted in more drunk driving accidents in these states.

Driving fatalities in each state contributed to 35 percent of the states’ score, arrests for driving under the influence counted for 25 percent of the states’ score, penalties for DUI counted for 20 percent of the states’ score, the cost per drunk driving fatality counted for 10 percent of the states’ score, and the laws in place which discourage drunk driving counted for the final 10 percent of the states’ score.  

Contact Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

The Logo of the Milwaukee Personal Injury Attorneys at Aiken & Scoptur, S.C.If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, it is important to know your rights. At Aiken & Scoptur, S.C., our drunk driving accident attorneys work tirelessly for our clients to obtain the maximum compensation.

Our Milwaukee drunk driving accident attorneys are dedicated to getting clients the full compensation they deserve. We take all personal injury cases on contingency, so you will not pay us a fee unless we help you obtain money damages. To discuss your case with an experienced trial lawyer, call us at 414-914-2803 or contact us today. We represent clients throughout the state from offices in Wauwatosa and Wild Rose.


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