With Halloween celebrations this evening, especially in communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists to not engage in any distracting activities while driving.
"Each year we remind motorists to be extra careful driving on Halloween with kids out trick-or-treating," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "This year, with numerous traffic signals out of service and many neighborhoods out of power, drivers need to be vigilant about attentive driving. No text message or phone conversation is worth the risk of a crash that could lead to serious injury or death."
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, more than 3,000 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured due to distracted driving. Studies show that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in some type of safety-critical event. In Rhode Island, it is illegal to text while driving.
RIDOT is coordinating with Federal, State and local officials, as well as with businesses, to discourage distracted driving. Since September, RIDOT, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and AT&T have partnered for a Don't Text and Drive High School Awareness Tour. The group has been visiting area high schools to encourage students not to text and drive through AT&T's successful It Can Wait program (http://itcanwait.com), an initiative that will continue into 2013.
Additionally, RIDOT was joined by Governor Lincoln D. Chafee when he signed the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) in early October. A key element of the plan is adopting a Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) position on highway safety initiatives. TZD's goal is to cut traffic fatalities and serious injuries in half by 2030. A video on this effort can be found on RIDOT's You Tube Channel at: http://bit.ly/Skq7wp.
Contact: Charles St. Martin 401-222-1362, Ext. 4007