Drunk Driving Health Risks
Alcohol is a key risk factor for motor vehicle crashes. About 12,000 people die each year in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. (more) Nearly one third of all traffic deaths involve impaired drivers. (more)
Rhode Island Numbers
- In 2008, 49% of motor vehicle fatalities involved alcohol, compared to the national rate of 41%. (more)
- In 2009, 51% of motor vehicle fatalities involved alcohol, compared to the national rate of 42%. (more)
- 3-time DUI offenders: 3,408
- 5-time DUI offenders: 531
- State subsidy of drunk driving fatalities: $217 million
- Alcohol use in past month among persons aged 12 to 20: 38%
- Binge alcohol use in past month among persons aged 12 to 20: 25%
What You Can Do
- If you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol, get help.
- Use an online screening tool to find out if you or someone you know may be drinking too much.
- Call: *-7-7 to report any driver who is driving erratically (excessive speed, weaving in traffic lanes, cutting off other drivers).
- Before any drinking, designate a non-drinking driver.
- Don't let your friends drive impaired. Take their keys away!
- If you have teenage children, talk to them about safe driving. (more)
What We Are Doing
Our Goal: Reduce death and injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes.
1. We support current efforts to strengthen Rhode Island's interlock ignition law by broadening its scope. (2010 legislation)
- What this is: An ignition interlock is a breath alcohol analyzer connected to the ignition of an offender's car (more). Before the car can be used, the driver must breathe into the device. If the system detects a high blood alcohol level, the car won't start.
- Facts: Ignition interlocks can reduce repeat DUI offenses by about 70%. The public saves $3 to $7 for every $1 spent on ignition interlock devices. (more)
- Where we stand: Rhode Island 's current ignition interlock law is weak. Courts can only order ignition interlocks after the second DUI offense and are not required to do so at all. Twelve states require or strongly encourage ignition interlocks for anyone who is convicted of DUI (May 2010).
2. We support proven policy solutions for the reduction of alcohol-impaired driving, including:
- The current minimum legal drinking age of 21 years old. (more)
- The Social Host Law, which legally holds a social host liable for serving alcohol to minors or to the obviously intoxicated. A social host is most often someone who serves alcohol in a non-commercial setting.
- The Open Container Law, which prohibits unsealed containers of alcohol in vehicles.
- The Vehicular Homicide Law, which allows penalties to be brought against a drunk driver who kills another person either intentionally or negligently.