Efforts & Results
On May 16, 2010, a Habitual Traffic Offender ran a red light at high speed in Charlestown, RI. She slammed into Colin Foote as he crossed the intersection on his motorcycle. Colin died within 30 minutes. This particular repeat offender had 19 prior traffic citations and several other traffic stops, yet tragically, she was allowed to continue to drive on our roads.
As a result of this tragedy, new traffic safety legislation sponsored by former Attorney General, Peter Kilmartin and former state Rep. Donna Walsh was passed in record time known as the Colin B. Foote Act or “Colin's Law”.
Colin's Law enables judges to adjudicate repeat offender violators of the “Act” and order them to:
· Pay a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000)
· Attend sixty (60) hours of driver retraining
· Perform up to sixty (60) hours of public community service
· Suspend the person's operator license for up to one year
· Or revoke their license for a period of up to two (2) years
The objective of this legislation has been an effort to change the driving behavior of egregious repeat offenders. or incarcerate those who have shown an inability to change their behavior. As violators, these offenders have demonstrated a careless and dangerous disregard for motor vehicle laws and they threaten the lives of everyone's loved ones, friends and fellow citizens. It is shocking to know that, as of July 2022, more than 1,000 repeat offenders have been ordered to take the 60 hour driver retraining course as mandated by Colin's Law. Countless other repeat offenders have been sanctioned by the court otherwise under the Act.
Prior to Colin's Law, repeat traffic offenders were able to “slip under the radar” undetected by paying traffic citations by mail. This has been corrected with the passage of legislation sponsored by Rep. Donna Walsh in 2011. This law now requires that:
"Any person who receives a third (3rd) summons within a twelve (12) month period of time, cannot plea or dispose of the charge by mail, but must appear in person before a judge at the traffic tribunal or municipal court."
“Colin’s Law” was passed unanimously by the RI Legislature in July 2010 and the court-ordered program began on October 20, 2012 after the state was able to finally put together the necessary resources and course material.
STATISTICS ON VIOLATORS OF THE COLIN B. FOOTE ACT
Source: Center for Workforce and Community Education at the Community College of Rhode Island Program Administrator
The first class group commenced on October, 20, 2012
Over 1,000 individuals have been adjudicated as repeat offenders and violators of “Colin's Law”.
Over 500 additional offenders have not paid the court-ordered "Colin's Law" fees and may be under driver’s license suspension for non-payment
750 + violators will have completed the class by October, 2022
An undetermined amount have “failed to show” for the classes
223 have been reported to DMV as “non-compliant” for further action by the DMV
Nearly 2/3 of violators who have taken the “Colin's Law” program did not take Drivers’ Education before getting their license.
Several violators had multiple “Colin's Law” charges before finally paying and doing the program. One example many people may remember is the young man who was speeding at 114 mph while taking a “live video” before hitting a garbage truck in December, 2016
Fewer than 10 drivers have been ordered by the court to repeat the program which suggests that “Colin's Law” has been very successful.
In our opinion, these results demonstrate not only that the program is very effective in modifying dangerous driving behavior, but it is likely to have saved many lives and prevented serious injury.