Odessa, Texas is ranked as the 35th most populous city in the Lone Star State. A population of just over 115,000 puts Odessa slightly ahead of Beaumont, New Braunfels, and Tyler.

Several things may immediately come to mind when you think about Odessa. Its location in the Permian Basin makes it an oil-producing hub. The storied Odessa Permian football program reigned as a dynasty back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Somehow, Odessa has become number one in the country for a tragic statistic. The city leads the nation with the highest rate of fatal drunk driving accidents...and it's not even close.

According to a report, in 2022, over 13,500 persons were killed in vehicle accidents where an involved driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more. The firm at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim used data from the National Highway Transporation Safety Association's Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool. The study compared the number of fatal drunk driving accidents per 100,000 people in the 300 largest cities in the U.S., between 2018 and 2022.

The Final Numbers

Odessa tops the nation with 27.46 fatal drunk driving accidents per 100,000 people for the four-year study period. San Bernadino, California is a distant 2nd with 18.15, followed by Pueblo, Colorado with 17.94. Corona, California and Hartford, Connecticut round out the top 5 of this dubious list.

Other Texas cities that were in the top 75 (or maybe we should say the bottom 75) include Midland (6), Dallas (7), Houston (16), Lubbock (18), Lewisville (21), San Antonio (26), Beaumont (36), Arlington (38), Irving (40), Corpus Christi (51), Lewisville (53), Austin (65), Waco (69), and McAllen (71).

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