State Police stepping up patrols over holiday weekend

Rhode Island – Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, announced that during the upcoming New Year’s holiday, The Rhode Island State Police will increase patrols throughout the state. The Rhode Island State Police will be stepping up enforcement for speeding, driving while impaired, aggressive driving, texting while driving, and seat belt and child restraint violations. Troopers will also be working diligently to effectively enforce the “Move-Over Law.” The goal is to make our highways safer and the New Year a happy and memorable one.

In 2014, there were 32 traffic-related law enforcement officer fatalities in the United States. Traffic-related incidents were the second highest leading cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officers, behind gun-related deaths. From 2005-2014, there were 1,466 officers killed in the line of duty, and 28 percent (414) of those fatalities were traffic-related. To respond to this tragic loss of life, every State has enacted “Move Over” laws, requiring motorists to change lanes and/or slow down when they approach emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Colonel O’Donnell urges motorists to move over and give space to emergency personnel. It is not just a courtesy—it’s the Law.

The holidays are a time for celebration, visiting loved ones, and reflecting on the year past and the year ahead. Yet all too often, the holiday spirit is destroyed by the recklessness of an impaired driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,967 people died as a result of drunk driving-related crashes during 2014, which is 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths. In Rhode Island during 2014, 52 people died in automobile crashes. Eighteen people, or 31 percent of those, were alcohol related.

During the holiday weekend, we can expect an increase in the volume of traffic along the state’s highways. Motorists are reminded that they can immediately report dangerous drivers or hazardous roadway conditions by dialing 9-1-1.

The Rhode Island State Police requests the assistance and cooperation of the motoring public to ensure a safe holiday. Colonel O’Donnell is urging all motorists to help reduce injuries and the tragic loss of lives on our highways by:

• Obeying all motor vehicle laws
• Do not drink and drive
• Being patient, and allowing extra time for delays that may occur due to holiday traffic
• Paying attention to road and weather conditions and adjusting driving accordingly
• Buckle up. It’s the law and will be strictly enforced
• Move Over for emergency and working vehicles – It’s the Law

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