Raptakis renewing efforts to crack down on drunk drivers as arrests increase


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Drunk-driving arrests are up nearly 50% from last year in Rhode Island, which is why a state lawmaker is renewing efforts to crack down on that behavior.

Sen. Lou Raptakis, D-Coventry, blames the leniency of the current laws, saying his legislation takes aim at repeat offenders.

“We haven’t even hit the Christmas and New Year’s holidays coming up in the next several weeks. Those numbers could probably go over 50 percent. That’s unacceptable,” he said.

According to Raptakis, the legislation would increase the penalty for those convicted of killing someone while driving drunk, as well as increase the DUI look-back from five years to ten years and confiscate the license plates from any vehicle a repeat offender is caught driving.

Raptakis has been bringing up the bills for more than a decade, but he believes the recent surge in arrests will help finally push them through.

“We pick up the newspaper and we see the tragedy of what’s going on our Rhode Island highways,” he said.

Just last week, a man was arrested on DUI and other charges for a crash in Coventry that killed his passenger, a 77-year-old dialysis patient he was transporting from an appointment.

Raptakis said he plans to reintroduce his bills when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

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