NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Officers will be out in full force this holiday weekend to make sure Rhode Islanders and visitors alike don’t drive impaired.
The Rhode Island DUI Task Force’s sole purpose is to arrest impaired drivers, according to North Kingstown Lt. Don Barrington, and is typically deployed ahead of holidays and long weekends.
“Our goal is to not have any arrests, to not have any crashes and to not have any loss of life,” Barrington said. “But as history has proven, despite our repeated warnings, people continue to make the wrong decision and get behind the wheel.”
The “Breath Alcohol Testing” vehicle, more commonly known as the BAT mobile, will be up and running on Wickenden Street throughout the weekend. The BAT mobile is equipped with a fingerprint machine, breathalyzer machines and two holding cells.
Sean Corrigan, president of the RI Police Chiefs’ Association, said Rhode Island hasn’t had any deadly July 4 crashes over the past two years.
But Corrigan said that doesn’t mean it won’t happen this year.
“No matter what the stats say, we can’t let our guard down,” Corrigan said.
Rhode Island State Police Capt. David Bassignani said their message doesn’t change from year to year.
“Buckle up, slow down and make a plan [to get home safely],” Bassignani said. “Our most dreaded duty is knocking on a door to let a family member know they’ve lost a loved one. We don’t want to knock on any doors this weekend.”
The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association is reminding drivers to be socially responsible this weekend by taking the following into consideration:
- If you plan to drink, make a plan ahead of time for a sober ride home.
- Even if you’ve had only one drink, let someone who hasn’t been drinking take you home. A sober driver is one who does not drink at all, not the one who’s had the least to drink.
- If you’re hosting a Fourth of July gathering, help the designated drivers out by making sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available.
- Have a friend who is about to drive impaired? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
- If you see an impaired driver on the road, safely pull over and call 911.
- Always wear your seat belt — and wear it correctly. It should go over your shoulder and across your lap.
- Drive the speed limit. It’s unsafe to drive too fast or too slow.
- Never eat, drink or use a cell phone while driving.