PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Thanksgiving is only two days away, and while there are fewer gatherings this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said the message remains the same: don’t drink and drive.
Alviti tells 12 News there has been an uptick in fatalities on the state’s roadways compared to this time last year. Last year, Alviti said there were 52 roadway fatalities, while this year, there’s already been 70.
“This year we are having a particularly bad year when it comes to fatalities,” he said.
Alviti said the drastic increase in roadway fatalities is a cause for concern, since the majority of them could have been prevented.
“Most of the fatalities we have had this year are because people were driving under the influence, people weren’t wearing their seatbelts and people weren’t paying attention to what they are doing on the road,” he said. “All of those are just so simply avoided.”
Alviti said no matter how many times they remind Rhode Islanders not to drink and drive, it all comes down to the choices they make.
“The wrong decision to get behind the wheel drunk, or to not fasten their seatbelt, or to look at their cellphone while driving, it can make all the difference in the world,” Alviti said.
Alviti urged Rhode Islanders to speak up and make the effort to prevent someone who’s impaired from getting behind the wheel.
“Intervene and help them make the right decision,” Alviti said, adding that if you don’t, you may spend the rest of your life wishing you’d stepped in.