PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association would like to remind the community of important road safety tips ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Law enforcement, highway safety officials and traffic safety advocates gathered at a safe driving event in Providence on Thursday, hosted by AAA Northeast, to raise awareness of the importance of safe and sober driving this weekend.
“Labor Day weekend is a busy time on our roadways with people enjoying their last summer trips and celebrations,” RIPCA President and Narragansett Police Chief Sean Corrigan said at Thursday’s event. “The increase in traffic this weekend can also lead to a rise in roadway fatalities and crashes, and we are urging everyone traveling this weekend to do so safely.”
Labor Day is one of the deadliest holidays for motor vehicle fatalities. Over the past five years, Labor Day weekend crashes in Rhode Island resulted in seven deaths and numerous other serious injuries.
During the 2020 Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 530 crash fatalities nationwide and 46% of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking. Age is also a risk factor — 44% of drivers aged 21-34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2020 had blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher. Nighttime is a particularly dangerous time to be on the roads with a higher rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes.
Numerous police departments throughout Rhode Island will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Labor Day enforcement period to take impaired drivers off the roads. The high-visibility enforcement campaign continues through Labor Day.
Drivers are reminded of the following safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- If you plan to drink, make a plan ahead of time for a sober ride home.
- Even if you’ve had only one drink, let someone who hasn’t been drinking take you home, or use public transpiration or a rideshare service. A sober driver is one who does not drink at all, not the one who’s had the least to drink.
- Have a friend or family member who is about to drive impaired? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get them home safely.
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, safely pull over and call 911.
For more information on impaired driving, visit nhtsa.gov.
Drivers are also reminded to:
- Always wear a seat belt, and wear it correctly. It should go over your shoulder and across your lap. Seat belts are your best defense against unsafe drivers and your best life-saving tool during a crash.
- Drive the speed limit. It’s unsafe to drive too fast or too slow.
- Pay attention while you drive. Keep your phone out of reach, and pull over if you need to make a call or send a text.
- Remain aware of your surroundings and watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles.