Provided by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office:
Police from 10 Bucks County departments will be out on the county’s most hazardous stretch of road on one of the biggest drinking nights of the year Wednesday with roving DUI patrols along the Street Road corridor.
Fifty-four people died in Pennsylvania crashes last year during the two weeks surrounding Thanksgiving. That was more than one-fourth of the state’s total holiday fatalities, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
What’s more, PennDOT statistics found Street Road to be Bucks County’s most accident-prone thoroughfare in 2016 with 671 crashes – almost two per day.
Small wonder, then, that 23 officers from Bensalem, Doylestown, Lower Southampton, Middletown, Newtown, Upper Southampton, Warminster, Warrington and Warwick Townships, as well as Newtown Borough, will be out on that roadway looking for impaired drivers from 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve until 3 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.
The patrol, funded entirely with grant money from PennDOT, will cover Street Road and its feeder streets from Bensalem to Warrington, with the Bensalem and Warminster Township Police Departments serving as booking centers.
“Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate our blessings with family and friends,” Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “Please celebrate responsibly. Be safe: don’t drink or do drugs and drive.”
A similar Thanksgiving Eve patrol last year on the same stretch of Street Road netted seven arrests for driving under the influence and four for drug possession.
This year’s Thanksgiving travel volume is expected to be the highest in 12 years, according to AAA, which predicts that nearly 51 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday period. That includes more than 600,000 people from the five-county Philadelphia, most of them traveling by car.
Thanksgiving Eve, dubbed “Black Wednesday” by some tavern owners for the profits it brings as one of the year’s biggest drinking days, can be especially hazardous. Young people home for the holidays and revelers looking forward to having Thursday off from work will be hitting the bars to celebrate and catch up with old acquaintances.
The downside is that alcohol figured into 297 traffic fatalities last year in Pennsylvania, about one-fourth of the total death toll.
“We can all make it to the table this Thanksgiving by joining together to make sure everyone is driving safe and sober,” said C. Stephen Erni, executive director of the PA DUI Association. “Simply put, if every motorist drives sober or makes a plan to get home safely and buckles up for every ride, we create a safer driving experience for all motorists.”