Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and AAA Northeast were joined by law enforcement officials representing police departments from across the state, traffic safety officials, and drunk driving prevention organizations at a press conference today to raise awareness of the deadly consequences of impaired driving and to remind the public to never drive impaired, especially during the holiday season.
Earlier this month, the Attorney General's Office and AAA Northeast announced a partnership on an impaired driving campaign, urging motorists across the state to take the AAA Pledge to never drive impaired (http://duijusticelink.aaa.com/for-the-public/take-the-pledge/). Primarily a social media campaign, the invitation to pledge has gone viral on various social media channels across the state.
With deaths on Rhode Island roadways increasing a staggering 76 percent for the first 11 months of this year as compared to the same time period last year, officials at the press conference drove home the point of staying sober behind the wheel this holiday season.
"Eighty individuals won't be sitting down to Christmas dinner this year; 80 individuals won't ring in the New Year with family and friends; and 80 individuals are being mourned by loved ones," said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. "We all have the power to end the impaired driving on our roadways. By choosing to not drive impaired, reporting suspected impaired drivers, or offering a ride to a friend or a family member who is impaired, we can save lives. To date, 2017 has been a deadly year on our roadways. Let's work together as a community and end the year with zero fatalities."
"In 2017 we have witnessed more than 80 people dying on our roads in Rhode Island this year – 30 more people than we saw in all of 2016," Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "This holiday season, if you see someone leaving a party or anywhere else you are, and they are impaired and intent on driving home, help that person in any way you can so they don't make the wrong decision."
"Motorists should be aware that there will be an increased law enforcement presence during the holiday season," said Providence Commissioner of Public Safety Steven M. Paré. "Enjoy the holiday festivities by acting responsibly. If you chose to drink, make sure you have a designated driver, and never let someone who is impaired operate a motor vehicle. If you are driving, always remember to wear your seatbelt and practice safe driving with no distractions. By making these small decisions, the life you save may be your own."
"The Rhode Island State Police is proud to support the Attorney General's Office and AAA Northeast in encouraging motorists to 'Take the Pledge' to never drive impaired. We encourage all Rhode Islanders to celebrate responsibly and not drink and drive. We want everyone to get home safely – not only during the holidays, but throughout the year," added Rhode Island State Police Major Christopher J. Dicomitis.
"As law enforcement leaders we too frequently witness the devastating effects of impaired driving when we respond to horrific accidents and when we have to deliver heartbreaking news to parents or loved ones. As part of our strategy to reduce these effects there will be extra police patrols on the roadways this holiday season enforcing impaired driving laws. The Rhode Island Police Chief's Association is asking the public to help us improve traffic safety by joining the pledge to drive alcohol and drug free," said Narragansett Police Sean Corrigan who serves as Secretary of the Rhode Island Police Chief's Association.
"As traffic fatalities increase in Rhode Island, it's so important to continue to amplify the message around impaired driving. AAA hopes Rhode Island motorists will take the pledge to never drive impaired, thereby helping to ensure their own safety and the safety of others with whom they share the road," added Lloyd Albert, Senior Vice President for Public and Government Affairs for AAA Northeast.