With all the recent news about distracted driving, and the approach of Halloween, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is reminding motorists not to take unnecessary risks.
"During this Halloween and throughout the year, please be especially mindful of the dangers of distracted driving," said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. "While the kids are out trick-or-treating, and you're behind the wheel, put away your cell phone. 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. Since Rhode Island passed a law against texting while driving in 2009, State and local police have issued over 575 tickets. Studies show that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in some type of safety critical event.
RIDOT cares so much about this effort, it has partnered with Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and AT&T for a Don't Text and Drive High School Awareness Tour. Since September 19, 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/. The group will continue visiting schools throughout the remainder of 2012 and into 2013.
Additionally, RIDOT was joined by Governor Lincoln Chafee when he signed the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) in early October. During the event, RIDOT premiered a Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) informational video. TZD is a national strategy on highway safety, adopted by the State of Rhode Island. TZD's goal is to cut traffic fatalities and serious injuries in half by 2030. To watch RIDOT's video, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9sImnOIS3M&feature=youtube.
As RIDOT is currently focusing on distracted driving, the Department is also reminding motorists that drinking and driving also will not be tolerated. RIDOT is partnering with the local law enforcement community with high-visibility enforcement and heightened public awareness to make the roadways safer. In Rhode Island, drunk driving is a leading cause of fatal crashes, with 19 lives lost last year in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4009