The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today highlighted a new public awareness campaign about the deadly consequences of drunk driving. The series goes far beyond previous campaigns and portrays how widespread the effect of these avoidable deaths is on families, friends and the community as a whole. Highway safety has been a priority of Governor Gina Raimondo and her leadership was instrumental in the production of this campaign.
Called the Ripple Effect, the series tells the story of everyday Rhode Islanders whose lives are shattered by the deaths of loved ones killed in crashes in which someone is impaired. RIDOT will be posting these messages on television and radio, on billboards and other outdoor advertising spaces and online, including social media. All the stories will be posted on a new website at www.RippleEffectRI.com.
"Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the ripples from the one action of a person who drives drunk and kills another spread far beyond, affecting dozens of people," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "This program clearly demonstrates the awful consequences of that fatal decision, and how this totally avoidable behavior destroys families and causes great hardship and sorrow for everyone involved."
The series, which debuted over the recent holiday season, initially focuses on Ryan Bourque, a 24-year-old Coventry man who was killed in May 2016 while driving home from his first day as a Jamestown police officer. A drunk driver hit Ryan's car head on while traveling the wrong way on I-95. The emotional story is told by Ryan's family, friends and co-workers who share what this catastrophic event has done to their lives, and their fervent desire that others may learn from Ryan's death before making a decision to drive impaired.
The series has expanded to tell the stories of trauma room doctors, medical examiners and first responders who see first-hand the consequences of serious injuries and fatalities in drunk driving crashes. They represent a part of the ripple, and each tells how these experiences affect them professionally and personally.
In the coming months, RIDOT will continue the Ripple Effect series with new stories of individuals sharing their experiences of loss and the physical and mental scars left behind as the result of an impaired driver.
The Ripple Effect series is part of RIDOT's 10-year safety plan which is aimed at reducing the number of annual traffic fatalities to zero – the only acceptable number for Rhode Island. The plan is supported by Governor Gina Raimondo and has dedicated funding, with an emphasis on increased private-public partnerships to help reach this goal.
Rhode Island ranks poorly among states with a high percentage of traffic fatalities involving impaired drivers - averaging about 40 percent in the past two years. Nationally, 28 percent of traffic crashes involve an impaired driver.