Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, announces that additional troopers will be on patrol through the holidays as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over highway safety campaign.
In addition, Rhode Island State Police are joining other State Police and local police throughout the region for Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a multi-state program of patrol and enforcement efforts designed to help prevent crashes through strict enforcement of traffic laws.
With so many people attending holiday parties and events and travelling to visit family and friends, the goal is to keep roadways safe for all motorists during the holidays, Colonel Assumpico said.
Through these additional enforcement efforts, Troopers will be focused on motorists driving while impaired due to alcohol or drug use, as well as others who present a danger due to distracted driving, aggressive driving or speeding.
Colonel Assumpico noted that the State Police already has seen a 24 percent increase in the number of DUI arrests in the past month, as compared with the same period last year. From November 12 to December 12, 2017, Troopers arrested 46 people for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs – including several people arrested after driving the wrong way on state highways. During the same period last year, troopers made 37 DUI arrests.
The increased enforcement will continue through the holidays, with the goal of helping keep the roadway safe for all holiday travelers, Colonel Assumpico said. She also offered the following driving tips and safety reminders:
• Check the weather. Before going out for the night or travelling to visit family and friends, check the weather at home and at your destination to learn of potential weather conditions that could impact travel – especially if snow, sleet and freezing rain are in the forecast.
• Allow extra time. With more people on the roads, it will take longer than usual to get to your destination. Map your route in advance and be prepared for heavy traffic along the way. If possible, try to avoid travel during peak driving periods.
• Bring your cell phone. Make sure to charge your cell phone in advance of a trip and bring a car charger so you can call for help in the event of an emergency.
• Buckle up. Make sure you and your passengers are properly secured with seat belts, booster seats or child car safety seats.
• Drive carefully. Slow down, don’t use your cell phone and be alert to the cars around you. Use special care when driving in unfamiliar areas. Avoid sudden starts, stops and lane maneuvering that could result in a crash.
• Take a break. Drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers. Stop every two hours or every 100 miles to rest before resuming your drive.
• Secure valuables. Keep holiday gifts, electronics and other valuables in the trunk or covered inside the car. Also remember to lock the doors of your vehicle, whether stopping for a few minutes or leaving a car parked for an extended period.
• Don’t drink and drive. Arrange for a designated driver or alternative transportation if you’re planning to drink at a holiday party or family gathering.
Colonel Assumpico also encourages all motorists to call 911 to report anyone who appears to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or otherwise operating a vehicle dangerously on the roads. Even with the increased patrols, State Police need the help of everyone to keep the state’s roadways safe during the holidays and beyond.