For many Rhode Islanders, St. Patrick’s Day is a popular night out to celebrate with family and friends. Yet, unfortunately, due to impaired drivers, the night out can be a dangerous one. That is why the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is joining the national effort to encourage motorists to never drink and drive, especially on St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17.
“We want to remind all motorists that the luck of the Irish won’t save you this St. Patrick’s Day or any other day,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “If you drink and drive in Rhode Island, you will lose.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that RIDOT’s Office on Highway Safety has funded overtime patrols specifically dedicated to impaired driving enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day. Officers from the Rhode Island State Police and 37 municipal police departments throughout the State will participate as part of Operation Blue RIPTIDE (Rhode Island Police Teaming for Impaired Driving Enforcement). They will be out in full force targeting impaired drivers.
In all of 2009, Rhode Island lost 83 people in motor vehicle crashes, 34 of which were killed in traffic crashes involving at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .08 or higher. Nationally, just on St. Patrick’s Day 2009, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362 x. 4009