SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — State police are advising Rhode Islanders to drive sober as they prepare to increase patrols for Labor Day weekend.

“Our message is simple: don’t drink and drive,” Col. Darnell Weaver said. “There is zero tolerance for impaired driving, so make a plan to get home safely.”

More than 11,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 that involved an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That statistic equates to one person killed every 45 minutes.

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association (RIPCA) says Labor Day is one of the deadliest holidays for motor vehicle fatalities. Over the past five years, crashes in Rhode Island resulted in seven deaths and numerous other serious injuries.

The RIPCA is urging drivers to:

  • Make a plan ahead of time for a sober ride home
  • Even if you’ve only had one drink, let someone who hasn’t been drinking take you home, such as public transportation or a rideshare service
  • 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, pull over and call 911

Drivers are also asked to wear seat belts, follow the speed limit, keep their phone out of reach and watch for pedestrians.