State Police are on the Lookout: If You Drink and Drive, You Will Lose
For many Rhode Islanders, St. Patrick’s Day is a popular night out to celebrate with family and friends. Yet, unfortunately, due to the large volume of impaired drivers, the night out has also become a very dangerous one.
Last year alone, nearly half (44%) of the 105 drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes on St. Patrick’s Day throughout the U.S. had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. To help curb these statistics, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is joining the national effort to remind all those who plan on celebrating during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities to drink responsibly.
“We want to remind all Rhode Islanders not to drink and drive on St. Patrick’s Day and throughout the year,” said RIDOT Director Jerome F. Williams. “State and local police will be out in full force. Please help us keep our roads safe – use a designated driver or call a cab. The life you save may be someone you know. If you drink and drive, you will lose.”
Impaired driving is one of Rhode Island’s deadliest challenges. In 2006, 81 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Out of that number 29 persons were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
This year marks the first time RIDOT’s Office on Highway Safety has funded overtime patrols specifically dedicated to impaired driving enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day. Officers from the State Police and 35 municipal police departments throughout the State will participate as part of Operation Blue RIPTIDE (Rhode Island Police Teaming for Impaired Driving Enforcement).
Williams noted that there are several ways to enjoy a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day:
Plan a safe way home BEFORE the festivities begin;
Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
If you’re impaired, use a taxi or call a sober friend or family member;
If you spot a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to pull over to a safe location and call the Rhode Island State Police by dialing *77 on your cellular phone; and
Remember, if you know someone who is about to drive a car or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they need to be safely.
For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.