PROVIDENCE — For the fourth year in a row, AAA is projecting an increase in Thanksgiving travel, with over 43 million Americans anticipated to travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend. During this busy travel season, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is joining its partners in law enforcement in reminding motorists to always buckle up.
“This Thanksgiving, and throughout the year, we urge motorists to drive carefully, obey speed limits, designate a sober driver, and to always wear a seat belt,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis.
Throughout Thanksgiving week to Nov. 26, RIDOT, the Rhode Island State Police, and local police departments from nearly all of Rhode Island cities and towns including East Providence, are currently participating in the “Click it or Ticket” program of enforcement and education that encourages seat belt use. Officers will be conducting high visibility enforcement to help save lives and prevent injuries on the State’s roadways.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. When lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury is reduced by nearly half.
Of the 37 motor vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island in 2011, 22 people or 60 percent were not wearing seat belts. Unfortunately, only 77.5 of Rhode Islanders currently wear their seat belts. This is below the national average of 86 percent.