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RIDOT, law enforcement join national efforts to curb impaired driving

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and State and local police are joining national efforts to reduce impaired driving fatalities through the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

State Police troopers and Providence Police will be available tonight, Friday, August 17, 2012, to talk about the dangers of impaired driving and demonstrate a new method that may be used to help expedite the process that occurs following the arrest of a driver suspected of driving under the influence. The event, part of the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, will take place at 7 p.m. at Biltmore Park, located across the street from the Rhode Island Foundation on Exchange Terrace in Providence.

"On average, there is an alcohol-related fatality every 51 minutes across America," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "We're proud to support law enforcement's efforts to get suspected impaired drivers off of the road and protect our community."

The Providence Police Department will use its mobile command unit Friday as a processing center for impaired driving arrests. Officers usually have to remain with the suspect for several hours while he or she is tested and interviewed, sometimes taking up the remainder of the officer's shift. For the first night of enforcement, two breathalyzers provided by the Rhode Island Department of Health's Forensics Laboratory will be set up in the mobile unit with dedicated operators so the officers can return to their patrols.

The high-visibility effort is supported by radio and television advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb impaired driving throughout the enforcement period, which runs from August 17 to September 3.

Young adults are most often at risk. Each year, about half of the country's fatal crashes involving 18- to 34-year-old drivers are attributed to alcohol impairment.

Note: On-street parking is available along Exchange Terrace for media attending the event.

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Contact: Bryan Lucier 401-222-1362 x4012

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Transportation

Online: http://www.dot.ri.gov

Release date: 08-17-2012

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