Driving Drunk: Car Models with the Most DUIs

Drunk driver holding bottle of alcohol outside car window

Drunk driving causes thousands of fatalities each year in the United States. According to the data, certain drivers are worse about drinking and driving than others.

Drunk driving claims the lives of more than 10,000 individuals every year in the United States, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). If drunk driving fatalities were spread evenly across the year, more than one would occur every hour. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated is deadly, and doing so endangers the driver and any passengers or other drivers in the vicinity. Driving with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of 0.08 or higher is illegal in all 50 states. Yet, driving with a BAC between 0.01 and the legal limit can still result in tragedy: nearly one in five people killed in alcohol-related accidents involved a driver with a BAC under the legal limit, according to the NHTSA.

The DUI rate across the country has trended downwards each year, thanks to anti-drunk driving organizations’ efforts to spread awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence, plus the implementation of more stringent legislation across all 50 states. Yet, this doesn’t mean that drunk driving is no longer an issue across the country. In fact, nearly thirty percent of all motor vehicle deaths within the past two years have resulted from alcohol impairment.

Even though drunk driving rates have decreased among all drivers in the United States, some car models attract significantly more DUI-prone drivers than others. To identify the car models with the highest rate of DUIs, the data science team at Insurify referred to their database. 

bar chart of the ten car models with the most DUI citations.

Insights

  • National averages. Across all car makes and models, 17.9 in every 1,000 drivers have one or more DUI citations on their record. The average selling price of a new car in the United States in 2020 is $37,851, based on Kelley Blue Book’s analysis.
  • Pickup trucks and drunk drivers. Among the ten cars on the list, six are pickup trucks. Not all pickup truck owners are among the worst at making the right choice around drinking and driving: America’s most popular pickup truck, the Ford F-Series, is not on the list. However, it does rank within the top 50 car models with the most DUIs, with 40% more DUI citations than the national average. 
  • Rude drivers and drunk drivers seem to prefer similar cars. The only four cars on the list that aren’t pickup trucks also appear in a prior Insurify study, which identified the car models with the rudest drivers. Note that while failure to yield violations, failure to stop violations, improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing, and hit-and-runs were all criteria for rude driving, DUI violations were not.
  • What’s up with Subaru WRX drivers? Subaru WRX drivers seem to get themselves into quite a few scrapes when it comes to dangerous and unlawful driving behavior. While the Subaru WRX may rank sixth among the car models with the most DUIs, it is also the car model with the most speeding tickets, the fourth-rudest car model, and the third-most accident-prone car model.
  • Car models with the fewest drunk drivers. On the opposite end of the spectrum from car models whose drivers have the most DUIs on their record are car models with the lowest proportion of DUIs. The top three cars with the least DUIs are the Toyota RAV4, the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Toyota Sienna, all of which have only 0.61, 0.65, and 0.69 percent of drivers with a DUI citation on their record, respectively.

Methodology

To determine the car models with the highest share of drivers with a prior DUI, the data science team at Insurify referred to their database of over 2.7 million insurance applications. When applying for car insurance, drivers disclose information such as the car they drive in addition to their recent driving history, including moving violations such as DUI citations. Insurify’s data science team calculated the proportion of drivers with one or more prior DUI citations on their record for each car model. From this analysis, they identified the 10 car models with the highest share of DUI citations.

MSRP and mileage data for all 2020/2021 models were collected from the manufacturers’ websites. Data for discontinued models were collected from the Kelley Blue Book for the model’s final production year.

The 10 Car Models with the Most DUIs

10. GMC Sierra

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 28.0 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2020): $32,245
  • Miles per gallon: 22 city / 32 highway

Rounding out the list of the top ten cars with the most DUIs is the GMC Sierra. Twenty-eight out of every 1,000 GMC Sierra drivers have reported at least one DUI on their record, meaning that drivers of this popular pickup are 56 percent more likely than the average driver to have at least one DUI citation on their record. The GMC Sierra is the more luxurious cousin to the Chevrolet Silverado, which ranks ninth on the list.

9. Chevrolet Silverado

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 28.3 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2021): $28,600
  • Miles per gallon: 23 city / 33 highway

Ranking ninth on the list of car models with the most DUIs, the Chevrolet Silverado doesn’t have a great track record for drunk driving. Chevy Silverado drivers have 58 percent more DUI citations than the national average, landing this pickup truck just ahead of its mechanically identical counterpart, the GMC Sierra. Apparently, similarities between these two trucks run deeper than the traits of the trucks themselves; their drivers are very similar as well, with nearly identical rates of DUI violations. 

8. Ford Ranger

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 28.9 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2021): $24,820
  • Miles per gallon: 21 city / 26 highway

The Ford Ranger has taken an eight-year hiatus from the production line and was re-introduced recently in 2019 with a facelift and improvements to its performance. However, some of its drivers have not taken any kind of break from the dangerous habit of drinking and driving. Out of every 1,000 Ford Ranger drivers, 28.9 have reported at least one DUI citation on their record. As a result, the DUI rate for drivers of this midsize pickup truck is over 60 percent higher than the national average.

7. BMW 7-Series

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 29.0 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2021): $86,800
  • Miles per gallon: 29 (overall)

One of the only four sedans among the cars with the most DUIs, the BMW 7-Series has 62 percent more drunk drivers than the national average. Perhaps it’s this car’s inherent sportiness that attracts some of the most ill-behaved and dangerous drivers in the nation, because the BMW 7-Series also has the second-rudest drivers, based on a prior Insurify report. Note that DUIs were not considered among driving behaviors categorized as ‘rude’ in the analysis, so these results are independent of the prior study. 

6. Subaru WRX

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 30.0 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2020): $27,495
  • Miles per gallon: 21 city / 27 highway

The Subaru WRX has 30 in every 1,000 drivers reporting one or more DUIs on their record, the nation’s sixth-highest DUI rate. In general, the Subaru WRX attracts some pretty ill-behaved drivers. Not only are WRX drivers prone to dangerously mixing drinking and driving, but they’re also the worst speeders in the nation, the fourth-rudest, and the third-most likely to cause an accident (likely due to their risky behavior on the roads), according to prior studies by Insurify. Needless to say, it’s probably safest to give the Subaru WRX a wide berth on the roads.

5. Dodge Dakota

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 30.5 per 1,000
  • Fair Purchase Price (base model; 2011): $7,444
  • Miles per gallon: 15 city / 20 highway

Coming in fifth is the Dodge Dakota, with nearly 31 in every 1,000 drivers reporting at least one DUI citation. The Dodge Dakota’s last model year was 2011 (although there are rumors of an imminent RAM Dakota 2021 model release), but this pickup has been in circulation ever since. Drivers of the Dodge Dakota don’t have a stellar track record of avoiding driving under the influence: the DUI rate of this pickup truck is 70 percent higher than the national average.

4. Audi A4

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 31.1 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2021): $39,100
  • Miles per gallon: 24 city / 31 highway

The Audi A4 is the third of only four sedans to make the car models with the most DUIs and has a DUI rate that’s 74 percent higher than the national average. High DUI rates aren’t the only thing that sets A4 drivers apart from the rest. The A4 also has the tenth-highest proportion of rude drivers compared to any other car. Perhaps the same type of driver who’s more likely than the average driver to engage in rude and risky behavior on the roads is also more likely to mix drinking and driving. 

3. BMW 4-Series

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 31.7 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2021): $45,600
  • Miles per gallon: 26 city / 34 highway

The BMW 4-Series has the third-highest DUI rate in the nation and is also the second-most expensive vehicle on the list, behind the BMW 7-Series. Drivers of this sporty luxury car tend to be ill-behaved on the roads in more ways than one. In addition to a dangerous drinking-while-driving habit, BMW 4-Series drivers are also incredibly rude, landing the vehicle first in the nation for rude and illegal driving behavior. 

2. Chevrolet S-10

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 35.9 per 1,000
  • Fair Purchase Price (base model; 2004): $4,826
  • Miles per gallon: 15 city / 17 highway

This pickup truck may have been off the new car market since 2004, but many are still on the roads — in fact, the average age of a car in the United States is quite high, at 11.8 years. Despite being out of production for over a decade, the Chevrolet S truck still has the second-highest rate of DUI violations compared to all other cars in the United States. Indeed, twice as many S Truck drivers have one or more DUI violations as the national average.

1. RAM 2500

  • Drivers with a DUI citation: 45.3 per 1,000
  • MSRP (base model; 2021): $34,095
  • Miles per gallon: 14 (overall)

The RAM 2500 has the highest DUI rate compared to any other car in the United States. In fact, 1 in every 22 RAM 2500 drivers has at least one DUI on their record, compared to the national average of 1 in every 56. It’s the sixth pickup truck to make the top 10 cars with the highest DUI rates in the nation. Built to tow over 10,000 pounds, this heavy-duty pickup truck also, unfortunately, carries around a much higher-than-average share of drunk drivers.

If you have any questions or comments about this article or would like to request the data, please contact insights@insurify.com.

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