The annual report by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety on highway safety laws and enforcement across the United States puts Rhode Island among the top states in the country for highway safety, tying with New York as the top state in the organization’s 2021 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.
The report ranks the best and worst states related to their progress in enacting 16 recommended highway safety laws in the areas of occupant protection, child passenger safety, graduated driver licensing, impaired driving, and distracted driving. This is the fifth year in a row Rhode Island has earned the top spot, with 13 out of the 16 recommended laws on the books.
“We appreciate the recognition in this national ranking which affirms the hard work of law enforcement and all our highway safety partners toward making our roads safer,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “But we know there is much work to do, with overall traffic fatalities on the rise last year and a large percentage of fatal and serious crashes involving impaired drivers. We’ll continue working diligently to make our roads as safe as possible.”
“This recognition underscores that it takes a team effort to make our roadways safer,” said Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety. “Smart policy, strong statutes and appropriate enforcement are all critical to our shared success. The Rhode Island State Police is proud to have a key role and will continue to leverage all the resources we have to prevent injuries and fatalities on our roads.”
“Police departments across Rhode Island work every day to ensure motorists are practicing safe driving habits, as well as conducting traffic enforcement that takes dangerous drivers off of the road,” said Sidney Wordell, Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Executive Director. “The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association is proud to work alongside our law enforcement, highway safety and community partners across the state as we continue the effort to keep our roadways as safe as possible for all who use them.”
“This national recognition is testament to the outstanding collaboration between RIDOT, law enforcement and a mission-driven group of stakeholders invested in advocating for thoughtful laws that keep Rhode Islanders safe,” said Lloyd Albert, AAA Northeast senior vice president of public and government affairs. “It’s our privilege at AAA to work with such a dedicated group that recognizes the ongoing challenges as we work towards zero fatalities on our state’s roadways.”
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety report comes at a time when RIDOT has released a new round of its Ripple Effect impaired driving public service messages, which are currently running on broadcast television and online. This empowerment campaign encourages people to take action – to take the keys, to not serve that drink, to call a ride – and help them understand they have a role in helping to reduce the number of deaths on Rhode Island highways.