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Drivers on Rhode Island roads can expect to see an increased level of police enforcement throughout the state coinciding with the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving campaign, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today.

The goal is to drastically reduce drunk driving and save lives. 

Running now through the end of the year, RIDOT is using approximately $60,000 in federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to fund additional patrols specifically for drunk driving. The Department also has allocated about $200,000 for increased advertising and messaging in various media outlets about the dangers of drunk driving. 

RIDOT, along with its many safety partners on the local, state and federal levels, urges drivers to never drive drunk. Planning to make sure everyone gets home safely, whether it be designating a sober driver, or using transit, taxis or rider sharing services needs to be the highest priority for everyone this holiday season.

 “The Christmas holiday season unfortunately is one of the worst times of the year for fatal impaired driving crashes,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said in a press release. “That’s why each year at this time we pair increased drunk driving patrols with more advertising to connect with people and urge them to not drive drunk. If you see someone about to make the mistake of getting behind the wheel while impaired, step up, intervene, and take the keys. Help that person get home safely.” 

Rhode Island has recorded 55 fatal crashes this year. While it takes several months to determine what percentage of those involve impaired drivers, historically Rhode Island has exceeded the national average. In 2018, the most recent year with full data available, 34 percent of fatal crashes involved an impaired driver. 

Nationally in 2018, 839 people died in impaired driving crashes in the month of December – 285 of them in just the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day, according to RIDOT.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.

He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.