Police cruisers block an intersection leading to the the SMU campus as the construction crane in which a robbery suspect climbed to avoid police looms in the background over the campus in Dallas, Texas May 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) - RTR32RPN

Way More People Die in Texas From Drunk Driving Than Anywhere Else

Ethan Couch is part of a bigger problem in the state that has nothing to do with "affluenza"

Ethan Couch has become the poster child for teenagers who, because of their privileged upbringing, have a distorted, bankrupt, unfeeling vision of the world—a kind of Bret Easton Ellis of the South.

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This summer, the 16-year-old Couch stole two cases of beer from Walmart, drank himself silly, and lost control of his father’s Ford F-350 pickup, killing four people. His trial, which concluded Tuesday in Texas with a sentence of probation, left many people with their jaws on the floor. His defense hinged on the testimony of G. Dick Miller, a psychologist who claimed on the stand that Couch’s parents had provided him “freedoms no young person should have.” He then introduced a new term into the vernacular, “affluenza,” which suggests that moral deficits are the inevitable consequence of privilege. The suggestion was that Couch, a child of wealth, could not be held accountable for his actions. The judge ultimately sentenced him to 10 years of probation, and “affluenza” has dominated the conversation ever since. But there’s another part of this story.


Texas, in many ways, is its own country, and drunk driving there is a systemic problem; perhaps, it’s the inevitable consequence of a state that tends to see legislation as an intrusion, except when it comes to abortion. Over the last couple of years, Texas was America’s runaway leader in drunk-driving deaths. In 2011, for example, 1,216 died—comprising 40 percent of the state’s total fatalities. That was almost twice as many as the state with the second-most drunk-driving deaths, California. Outside Texas, the national average for such fatalities hovers around 180. That can hardly be blamed on “affluenza.”

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  • Figures do not lie —- but liars figure.    ….     This article and it’s author are the perfect example of that truism.

  • News Flash.There are also more people in Texas, California, Florida and New York than other states.The moron who wrote this article needs to get a clue about the difference between a rate and a meaningless absolute number.How many drunk driving deaths per mile driven in Texas vs other states ?  The author either does not know this basic fact, or, is trying to hide it from the reader to mis-lead the reader.How many drunk driving deaths per car in Texas vs other states ?  The author either does not know this basic fact, or, is trying to hide it from the reader to mis-lead the reader.How many drunk driving deaths per person in Texas vs other states ?  The author either does not know this basic fact, or, is trying to hide it from the reader to mis-lead the reader.We need to call these liars by ommission exactly what they are: Liars.

  • What a dishonest and misleadning article.How about some meaningful numbers like deaths per mile driven in the state.  Or even deaths per car or deaths per driver.The United States Map tells it all.The state’s with the largest populations, California, Texas, New York and Florida have the largest number of people who die from drunk driving.DUH

  • as a merchant seaman I visit Texas often. one thing I find ridiculous is drive through liquor stores. jimsloan

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Really?  Why is that?  Your preference is to do your drinking in a bar and then drive home drunk?

  • I hope you don’t actually consider yourself a journalist. Your bias is pathetic. Before you report on anything involving statistics, you should consider the fact that they are, at best, useless when in the raw. In cases like this, they are worse than useless; they are misleading and fodder for libelous attacks. If you don’t even consider the population of each state when comparing raw numbers like this (let alone things like time spent on the road per capita, etc.), you are either purposefully misleading people since you can’t sway anyone without falsities, or you are so lacking in common sense that you’re a danger to society. Either way, I beg you to stop “”"writing”"”.

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    • Oh, and “except when it comes to abortion”? Please… spew liberal vile, much?

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • when men can get pregnant they can make an informed decision. it’s not a liberal or conservative thing it’s common sense.

  • Clearly you’ve never been to Texas. We drive everywhere, you don’t walk anywhere here, we drive because it takes a while to get anywhere. Also legislation has nothing to do with it. We have more drivers on the road than anyone else excepting California and they have more public transit and further more we have had more people move here in the last few years than any other state. Please think and do at least a little research before you write some more biased garbage about my home.

    3 Replies - Reply Now
    • No Its because the legislature Is made up of pussies who refuse to address the problem, so we are forced to share the road with drunks

    • To the state who gave this country George Bush, as long as drunken Texans only  Kil other Texans—–who cares.

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • All the article really says is that California, Texas, Florida and New York are the biggest states….There is no information in the article regarding the rate of death by drunk driving, only the absolute number of deaths….Thus the largest states, California, New York, Florida and Texas have more deaths from drunk driving than any other states.  The also have more births and more deaths from all causes…..Those people who believe this article tells them something that they can use to make pronouncements on what is wrong With CA, TX, FL or NY are even bigger morons than the writer of the article.

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    • yes you drive everywhere but do you have to do it drunk?

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