You might want to think twice before driving through California at night.
According to a new report from Insurance.com, two California cities, San Diego and San Jose, have the highest number of drunk driving incidents in the country, with two of the state’s other big cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, not far behind.
Insurance.com, an online insurance comparison guide, based the ranking on the percentage of users who reported one or more DUI violations over the last three years.
Other notable cities in the top 10 include Charlotte, N.C. (#3), Columbus, Ohio (#5) and Austin, Texas (#9).
While the study does not attempt to explain the reason why more Californians than Floridians drink and drive, it does point out several general factors that contribute to a city’s number of DUIs. In particular, many of these cities are college towns where there are potentially more people drinking and partying than other cities that have an older population of professionals. The site also points out that some cities have less public transportation, meaning people are more likely to have to drive home after a night of drinking, and in those cities with better law enforcement, even only mildly-impaired drivers are more likely to get busted on their way home.
The latter point is especially true of San Diego, which had the most drunken driving incidents on the list. According to Insurance.com, the city has a special staff of five full-time officers tasked exclusively with preventing DUIs.
Even if you don’t drink and drive yourself, living in a city with a high rate of drunken driving incidents could potentially lead to higher insurance rates if the DUIs also result in more traffic accidents.
“Whenever you live in a place with a high frequency of accidents (like urban areas), you’ll pay more for car insurance, regardless of the root cause of the accidents,” said Kat Zeman, a spokesperson for Insurance.com.
But that cost is nothing compared to what drivers who have been convicted of DUIs experience.
“If you have a DUI conviction, there’s no way to escape a rate increase,” Zeman said. “The best strategy is to live through your surcharge period without having any more accidents or claims, so that you can drop back down to a regular rate as soon as possible.
For those dealing with such insurance rate increases, Zeman also recommends shopping around and getting at least three different insurance quotes.
Here is Insurance.com’s full list of 20 cities with the most drunk driving incidents:
1. San Diego, CA
2. San Jose, CA
3. Charlotte, NC
4. Phoenix, AZ
5. Columbus, OH
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. Los Angeles, CA
8. San Francisco, CA
9. Austin, TX
10. Jacksonville, FL
11. San Antonio, TX
12. Dallas, TX
13. Houston, TX
14. Fort Worth, TX
15. Memphis, TN
16. Philadelphia, PA
17. New York, NY
18. Baltimore, MD
19. Chicago, IL
20. Detroit, MI
Check out MainStreet’s list of the drunkest states in America.
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