Don’t rely on luck: make a plan to get home safely


RIPCA News Release



March 15, 2024


Don’t rely on luck: make a plan to get home safely

Extra patrols are on the roads for St. Patrick’s Day Weekend


Today, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association reminded Rhode Island drivers to make a plan to get home safely if they are planning to be out celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Extra patrols will be on the roads and social media from departments across the state will reinforce key safety messages.


"The most important thing you can do if you are celebrating this weekend is to make a plan to get home safely. Designate a sober driver, use rideshare or stay where you are, but do not drive if you have been drinking or using cannabis,” said Colonel Brad Connor, Warwick Chief of Police and President of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association. “We also want to remind Rhode Islanders that whether it's a pint of Guinness, green gummies, or a mix of both, it all adds up to impairment. Please make a plan to be safe and don't forget to buckle up."


"Thanks to our partners at the Office of Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, extra officers will be on the road to identify and apprehend impaired drivers," added Connor.


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day period, more than a third of crash fatalities involved a drunk driver. In fact, from 2016 to 2020, 287 lives were lost in drunk-driving crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day period.


Background on impaired driving


The first offense for driving under the influence of liquor or drugs carries several penalties:

·     Possible jail sentence of up to one year at the ACI.

·     Mandatory license suspension from three to eighteen months.

·     Mandatory community service from 10 to 60 hours.

·     Fines of not less than $100, nor more than $500

·     Fees can easily reach a few thousand dollars.


Rhode Island law requires you to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine to determine the chemical content of your body fluids or breath.

If you refuse this testing, certain penalties can be imposed, including the following:


·     For a first offense, your Rhode Island driver’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state can be suspended for six months to one year or modified to permit operation in connection with an ignition interlock device for a period specified by law; a fine from $200 to $500 can be imposed; and you can be ordered to perform 10 to 60 hours of community service and attend a special course on driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcohol or drug treatment.

·     If you have had one or more previous offenses within the past five years, your refusal to submit to a chemical test of breath or urine at this time can have criminal penalties, including incarceration of up to six months for a second offense and up to one year for a third or subsequent offense, and can carry increased license suspension or ignition interlock period, fines, and community service.




RIPCA Buckle Up


RIPCA Impairment


RIPCA Impairment