Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, which this year falls on Sunday, March 17, 2013, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will join MADD and the Rhode Island State and local police departments at a unique Designated Driver program. A designated driver is a person who is over 21, that elects not to drink and drive to ensure his/her friends who are drinking are driven home safely.
The event, which also serves to remind motorists that police will be cracking down on drunk drivers throughout the holiday weekend, will be hosted tonight, Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10 p.m. by the Colosseum Night Club, located at 180 Pine Street in Providence.
Club and pub owners all over the State are promoting St. Patrick's Day celebrations and the safe enjoyment of the holiday. The Colosseum is offering free admission for designated drivers and their entire party with preferred line privileges as well as free non-alcoholic beverages this weekend. They will also publicize this effort on the Colosseum Facebook page and website during every remaining major holiday weekend this year. Those who sign up to be a designated driver will also receive complementary admission for their next visit to the club. For more information, click on: www.facebook.com/thecolosseumprov. RIDOT is encouraging other clubs and establishments to follow suit with similar offers to designated drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving drunk drivers during the St. Patrick's Day holiday during the period from 2006 to 2010.
Impaired driving is one of Rhode Island's deadliest challenges. In 2011 (the most recent year for which complete data is available,) 66 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Out of that number 24 persons, or 36%, were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC of .08 or higher.
This year marks the tenth consecutive year RIDOT's Office on Highway Safety has funded overtime patrols specifically dedicated to impaired driving enforcement on and around St. Patrick's Day. Officers from the State Police and 38 municipal police departments throughout the State will participate as part of Operation Blue RIPTIDE (Rhode Island Police Teaming for Impaired Driving Enforcement).
Attendees for the March 14 press event will include: Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent, RISP; Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Chief, Providence Police; Steven M. Pare, Commissioner of Public Safety, City of Providence; Robert Rocchio, P.E., Managing Engineer, RIDOT; Gabrielle Abbate, Executive Director, MADD, Rhode Island; and Anthony Santurri, owner, Colosseum Night Club.
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4009