·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

How Has COVID-19 Impacted DUI Rates, Arrests, and Insurance?

— February 21, 2022

Until your DUI is removed from your driving record, this can affect your insurance rates and could make some insurers refuse to give you a quote altogether.

The pandemic has affected crime rates and insurance rates in various ways. The number of cars on the road decreased significantly due to lockdown and stay-at-home orders, with a traffic decrease of up to 15% across the US, according to a study performed by TomTom.

Read on for a full breakdown of the effects of COVID-19 on DUI rates, arrests, and insurance. Driving responsibly can save lives and save you high costs – so drink responsibly and drive safely.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted DUI Rates?

The COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequent increase in remote working have caused a decrease in the number of cars on the road, thus impacting DUI rates. With fewer social gatherings and a decreased need to travel, DUI rates have significantly reduced since the pandemic began. 

Social gatherings are linked to the temptation to drive home after drinking alcohol, and without them, we have seen a positive outcome concerning DUI rates. To gain a deeper understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on DUI rates, here are some statistics gathered from different states:

  • DUI arrests were down 70% in Minnesota a year into the pandemic.
  • DUI arrests were down 60% in New York City a year into the pandemic.
  • DUI arrests were down 42% in California a year into the pandemic.

However, as we gradually return to life as usual following the pandemic, we are starting to see the numbers rise again. More social gatherings and more cars on the road mean more DUI incidents.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Arrest Rates?

There were fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, which encouraged drivers to break the speed limit. There was a rise in ticketing and arrests, and the death rate on the roads in early 2021 was up by 10%. The lack of cars on the road caused drivers to engage in riskier behavior like distracted driving and breaking the speed limit. 

However, according to USA Today, arrest rates and dispatch calls all over the US dropped during the pandemic, who reported lower crime rates and increased domestic violence dispatch calls.

Traffic on the roads and thus driver behavior are returning to normal levels as we move out of the pandemic. With this, we will likely see arrest rates rise due to more cars on the road and death rates lessen as drivers behave more safely.

How a DUI Conviction Can Affect Your Insurance Rates

Understanding the financial and legal consequences of driving under the influence is essential. If the safety of yourself and others isn’t a deterrent from driving under the influence, hopefully, the financial and legal consequences will prevent temptation.

Financial Impact

The fines and fees you will have to pay following your first DUI will vary from state to state, but you should expect to pay between $100 and $6500. The highest fines for driving under the influence are those in Alaska, with a minimum fine of $1500 for driving under the influence. The lowest fines are for West Virginia and Rhode Island, where the minimum penalty for a DUI is $100.

How Long Will a DUI Affect Your Insurance?

According to the Forbes advisor’s analysis, the average increase in insurance rate for drivers with a DUI is 74%, meaning that the average price increase for insurance is $1470 per year. 

The DUI is on your driving record, which insurers will view before offering a quote for your insurance. A DUI can stay on your driving record for between 2 and 5 years, or even much longer in some cases. Until your DUI is removed from your driving record, this can affect your insurance rates and could make some insurers refuse to give you a quote altogether.

If you drive less than 25 miles per day, you could be eligible for cheaper insurance rates, which could decrease your monthly spending.

How do Insurance Companies Become Aware of Your DUI?

DUI graphic
Image courtesy of Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay,

You should let your insurance provider know about your DUI as soon as you get a conviction. If you do not make your insurance provider aware of your DUI, they will inevitably find out when they renew your insurance at the six-month or one-year mark. You must also become aware of the legal restrictions and regulations surrounding reporting a car incident.

If you share an insurance policy with other named drivers, it could also affect their rates, so you must communicate with your insurance provider to determine how this will affect them.

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life Insurance?

A DUI affects your life insurance policy and can make your rates increase by up to 200%. You can still get life insurance with a DUI, but it is recommended that you shop around to ensure you get the best rates. It could take up to 5 years for you to regain access to the best life insurance policies.

Don’t Drive Under the Influence

The pandemic had a marked effect on the nature of road arrests. Reckless driving and speeding incidents rose, while DUI rates dropped significantly. As the roads return to normal traffic levels, it is vital to remain aware of the financial consequences of driving under the influence and bear this in mind the next time you have a few drinks. It’s always better to pay for a taxi home than to face a hefty fine and be faced with higher life and auto insurance rates.

Join the conversation!