State agencies launch DUI initiative

PROVIDENCE – A new task force has been formed to fight driving under the influence, the R.I. Department of Transportation, R.I. State Police and the R.I. Office of the Attorney General announced on Thursday.

The task force, a new unit of the State Police, has increased overnight road presence, particularly between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. The initiative was said to have added between two and five patrols each day during those hours.

The unit is funded by RIDOT via a roughly $830,000 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant.

“We are attacking impaired driving on many fronts,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “Now we’re putting federal dollars to work to fund year-round patrols with the sole purpose of stopping and arresting drunk drivers before they have a chance to kill or seriously injure someone.”

- Advertisement -

The new effort launched in mid-November with a goal of arresting impaired drivers. The state entities said that RIDOT typically funds increased efforts in the holiday season or high travel periods but noted that this initiative will extend year-round.

Since the launch, the unit has completed 97 shifts, arrested 90 individuals, 49 for driving under the influence, and issued 684 citations. The unit has also investigated 56 crashes, where roughly one-third involved a suspected impaired driver.