Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, notes that the day before Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year, so she reminds all motorists to use extra care and allow extra time to get to their destinations safely.

“More people on the roads increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes, especially given that many people may not be familiar with local roads and/or detours caused by construction projects,” Colonel Assumpico said. “That is why we ask all motorists to be extra vigilant – and extra courteous. We want everyone to get home safe for the holiday.”

Colonel Assumpico said additional troopers have been assigned to provide targeted enforcement of all motor vehicle laws, especially those involving driving while impaired, distracted driving, speeding and violation of the state’s seatbelt laws. She also reminds all motorists travelling through Rhode Island that use of handheld cell phones is not allowed.

“Extra troopers will be assigned starting today to ensure that motorists abide by the laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner for the protection of everyone sharing the roadways during the holidays,” Colonel Assumpico said.

Troopers will be participating in the national safety campaign by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reminding people: “Buckle Up – Every Trip, Every Time.” They will be enforcing the state’s seatbelt laws to remind motorists to ensure that all occupants of their vehicles are properly secured in seatbelts or child safety seats.

Starting Friday, they also will be stepping up enforcement of state laws prohibiting motorists from driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. NHTSA reminds everyone that “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

Colonel Assumpico said the goal in providing increased enforcement is to keep everyone safe, especially during the holidays. She offers these safety tips and reminders:

• Don’t drink and drive. If you drink, arrange for a safe ride home.

• Buckle up – every trip, every time. Make sure all occupants wear seatbelts and ensure that children are properly secured in child safety seats.

• Avoid distractions. Set your navigation device before you start your car. Avoid cell phone use. Never text and drive. Remember state law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving.

• Allow extra time for travel. With more motorists on the road, it likely will take longer to get to your destination. Avoid peak travel periods if possible. Take it safe and slow.

• Stay alert. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, so make sure you’re well-rested before heading out and take breaks during long trips.

Colonel Assumpico also encourages motorists to call 911 if they spot anyone driving in an unsafe or dangerous manner, which puts all motorists at risk.

“We all need to work together to keep our roadways safe for the holidays,” Colonel Assumpico said. “Drive safely and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.”

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