Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Reminds Residents to Stay Safe, Avoid Driving Impaired this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association would like to remind residents of the dangers of impaired driving during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,142 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2019. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2015 to 2019 — one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 52 minutes in 2019. 

During the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day period, almost half (46%) of crash fatalities involved a drunk driver. From 2015 to 2019, a total of 280 people died in drunk-driving crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day period. 

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association offers the following safety tips from the NHTSA to prevent crashes and tragedies as a result of impaired driving this coming weekend:

  • Never drive if you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs. In every state, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
  • Never get into a vehicle with a driver who is drunk or high. If you see anyone with an alcoholic beverage, or if a person smells of alcohol, do not let that person drive.
  • Be a defensive driver. Remain vigilant while driving and watch out for other drivers who may be under the influence. If you see a driver who may be impaired, find a place to safely pull over and call 911.
  • Watch for pedestrians who may have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. In 2019, 32% of the pedestrians killed in traffic crashes had BACs at or above .08. 
    • Pedestrians should arrange for a sober ride or for a sober friend to walk you home.
  • Always wear your seat belt.

Plan a Sober Ride

Designate a sober driver beforehand or plan to use public transportation or a ride share service to get home safely. The NHTSA offers the following safety tips for using ride-sharing services and taxis:

  • Confirm your ride by checking the license plate. Before getting into a vehicle, make sure the car and license plate match what you booked through the app. You should also look at the driver and ask them their name to confirm it matches the name and photo in the app.
  • Find a safe spot to be picked up. Pick a location where you can wait inside until the driver arrives. If that’s not possible, choose an area to wait that’s away from the roadway, well lit, and where your driver can safely stop. Request that your driver drop you off in a safe spot as well.
  • Always sit in the back. Sitting in the back seat will allow you to more easily exit the vehicle from either side in the event of an emergency or if you feel the need to suddenly leave the vehicle for whatever reason. It also puts more space between you and the driver. 
  • Share your trip details. Most ride-sharing apps will allow you to share your trip details with others, including the information of your driver/vehicle and the specifics of the route. You can also set the app to alert others of your arrival at your destination.

Click It or Ticket

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association also would like to inform residents of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s approaching Click It or Ticket mobilization campaign. The statewide mobilization is crucial to lessening unbelted serious injuries and fatalities on state roadways. Simply wearing a seatbelt while operating a motor vehicle increases one’s likelihood of surviving a crash by 50%. 

From March 21-27, Rhode Island law enforcement officials will be stepping up efforts to enforce Rhode Island’s seatbelt laws and also educating the public on the need to wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle. RI-DOT is aiming to reach a goal of 90% seatbelt compliance or higher across the state in fiscal year 2022. 

For more information on the state’s Click It or Ticket campaign, click here

For additional driving and road safety tips, click here.

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Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Reminds Residents to Stay Safe, Avoid Driving Impaired this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend