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RIDOT to issue $1 million in grants to fund seat belt education campaigns

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus announced today that they will seek proposals from community-based organizations for seat belt education campaigns. The Department is making $1 million available over a four-year period for programs that increase seat belt usage, including proper usage of child seats, Statewide with special concentration on the following eight urban communities: Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick and Woonsocket.

"Fatalities and serious injuries from crashes in which people are not wearing seatbelts happen everywhere and to everybody, regardless of nationality, race, or economic status," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "This program will help ensure that the important message of buckling up reaches everyone."

To explain the grant application process, RIDOT's Office on Highway Safety will hold five community workshops this spring, the first scheduled for Thursday, May 31, 2012. Information regarding this grant program also will be posted on RIDOT's website at The workshop dates and locations are as follows:

• Thursday, May 31 from 9 - 10:30 a.m. at the Federal Hill House, 9 Courtland Street, Providence.

• Monday, June 4 from 5 - 6:30 p.m. at the St. Martin dePorres Senior Center, 160 Cranston Street, Providence.

• Thursday, June 7 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. at the St. Martin dePorres Senior Center, 160 Cranston Street, Providence.

• Tuesday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 20 Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland Blvd., Newport

• Tuesday, June 12 from 2 - 4 p.m. at Progresso Latino, Inc., 626 Broad Street, Central Falls.

"By attracting local, grassroots groups with this program we hope to develop seat belt education messages custom-tailored to the communities they serve. They will communicate to people in a way national campaigns can't," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said.

"I am pleased to join with DOT in announcing plans to commit $1 million to seat belt education campaigns in Rhode Island, and especially to help educate our State's low income, minority and non- English speaking citizens," said Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence).

"As the sponsor, along with Senator John Tassoni (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield/No. Smithfield), of the primary offense seat belt law that is now in effect, my goal was to try to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries that were a direct result of motorists not using this important piece of safety equipment. This grant and these education programs will play a great role in achieving that goal."

The funds are made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and came with the passage of a primary seat belt law in 2011. In nine months, seat belt usage has increased to 84.5 percent, its highest level ever in Rhode Island. This equates to lives saved and a significant reduction in serious injuries.

The grant proposals will be evaluated by RIDOT and the Black and Latino Caucus Community Partnership, a non-profit organization consisting of community members working with members of the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus.

Anyone with questions about the grant program or planning to attend a community workshop should contact Elvys Ruiz at 401-222-3024, ext. 4441 or via email to Individuals requiring interpreting or hearing-impaired services, please inform Mr. Ruiz at least 72 hours prior to the community meeting to request an interpreter.

Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362 x4007


The RIDOT Office of Highway Safety's (OHS) mission is to develop programs and activities that reduce the incidence of death and injury on Rhode Island roadways. Through public education, partnerships with public health officials, civic organizations, municipalities, law enforcement agencies and legislative leaders, the OHS advocates and promotes responsible motorist and pedestrian behavior.

The Black and Latino Caucus Community Partnership represents and advocates for the interests of disadvantaged people throughout the State of Rhode Island. It seeks to increase a diverse participation and representation in all levels of community leadership. Its ultimate goal is to close (and ultimately, to eliminate) disparities that still exist between White and Non-White Americans in every aspect of life.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Transportation
  • Online:
  • Release date: 05-29-2012

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