A Texas law firm recently compiled statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation ranking Texas cities with the highest drunken driving fatality rates — and Odessa made the top of the list.
The cities were ranked by annual drunken driving deaths per 100,000 residents, and Odessa was ranked No. 1 with 6.26 per 100,000 people. Midland wasn’t far behind, ranking No. 2 with 6.19.
Sutliff & Stout, the law firm who published the study, compiled the list by pulling all data for alcohol involved crashes during the last five years for every Texas city with a population more than 50,000, averaging an average of fatalities during the last five years, dividing it by total population, with Odessa’s population estimated at 115,000, and dividing the number by 100,000.
The Odessa Police Department stated in a news release Wednesday they are concerned about public safety on the roadways and have ramped up their DWI enforcement to try and lessen these numbers.
The release added the best enforcement relied upon the citizens’ own safety and discipline and those visiting, and the number could be lowered by being smart after drinking an alcoholic beverage.
OPD advised in the news release to always have a sober driver when going out and to not allow an intoxicated person to operate a motor vehicle. The release also stated OPD is available to assist should a person refuse to take a safe, sober ride home, and asked the public to call 9-1-1 to report intoxicated driver incidents.
The release detailed that should anyone be at an establishment that appears to be over-serving customers, to report it immediately to the police.
DWI ARRESTS MADE BY OPD DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS:
- 2013: 462
- 2014: 583
- 2015: 664
- 2016: 667
- 2017: 666
- 2018: 187
- Average per year: 608.4
The number of arrests in 2018 is ranging from Jan. 1 to March 31, the release detailed. OPD also reported the average number of crashes during the past five years as 86.2, and the average number of fatal crashes involving alcohol during the past five years at 6.4.
Odessa District of TxDOT Spokesperson Gene Powell said TxDOT declined to comment on the study itself, but said they spend millions of dollars every year trying to combat drunken driving with various campaigns.
“We encourage people to not drink and drive every chance we get,” Powell said. “Any drunk driving fatality is preventable and we hope people make the right choice behind the wheel.”
See the study HERE.