Public safety officials gear up for holidays

EAST PROVIDENCE (WPRI) – Public safety officials in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are gearing up for the holidays.

Unfortunately, those preparations include the reality of impaired driving and law enforcement needs your help in preventing what they says is a preventable tragedy.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) law enforcement and traffic safety advocates hosted their educational “Strike Out Drunk Driving” bowl-a-thon at the East Providence Lanes on Saturday. Their message was absolutely critical as the holiday season ramps up.

Richard Sullivan, a Law Enforcement Highway Safety Liaison says, “We’re not saying that people shouldn’t enjoy family, shouldn’t enjoy food and have a drink. All we’re saying is, if you are going to drink, do not drive.”

Officials say significant progress has been made and the number of fatal crashes is down, but that’s far from the whole story. Sullivan says “Although there are less crashes, there are more severe crashes. Drunk driving is still one of the [top] problems in the country. Over 10,000 people are killed every year by an impaired driver.”

According to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve 2012, nearly 1,100 people died in drunk-driving crashes nationwide.

Thanks to MADD’s “Tie One on For Safety” Campaign, you’re likely to see police cruisers bearing red ribbons over the next few weeks. “And that’s the message the motoring public should see, that that officer will stop you if you are impaired and driving, they will arrest you.” Sullivan adds, “We would love to go through a weekend like this with no crashes, no injuries, no fatalities, and how about no tickets.”

Of course, appointing a designated driving and calling a cab are always two best practices amid the holiday revelry.

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