Providence, RI – The Distilled Spirits Council today applauded Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri for signing into law House Bill 6700, legislation that sharply increases the penalty for drunk drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test.

Governor Carcieri, joined by Attorney General Patrick Lynch and H.B. 6700’s primary sponsor — Representative Patrick O’Neill — signed the bill into law today during a ceremony at the State House. Other sponsors of the bill include Representatives Fausto Anguilla, Raymond Church, Peter Ginaitt, Russell Jackson, and Peter Kilmartin.

“We commend Governor Carcieri, Attorney General Lynch and the Rhode Island State Legislature for supporting legislation that comes down hard on repeat offenders by escalating penalties for multiple offenses,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President Jay Hibbard, who also attended the bill signing this afternoon. “Laws such as this are tools that states can use to help reduce the occurrence of drunk driving in their communities.”

H.B. 6700 increases the penalty for a drunk driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test and requires the attorney general to prepare an annual written report for the General Assembly on impaired driving, identifying cases involving drunk driving and chemical test refusal charges.

The new law took effect immediately upon passage.

Hibbard pointed out that the distilled spirits industry has a long history of working with communities nationwide to combat underage drinking and drunk driving.  Hibbard cited as examples the work of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers, which has programs available for communities and parents to reduce underage drinking and drunk driving. For more information regarding these programs, visit