Patrol officers from Newtown Borough will among those taking part in the countywide effort to stop intoxicated drivers on Thanksgiving Eve.
The unofficial drinking holiday has become known as “Blackout Wednesday” and “drinksgiving” due to the celebratory drinking done by those relaxing or visiting family from out of town.
The multi-agency crackdown will focus for the third year in a row on the Street Road corridor from Bensalem to Warrington. Stepped-up enforcement will take place from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 3 a.m. Thursday.
Newtown Borough police will join officers from Bensalem, Middletown, Penndel, Upper Southampton, and Warrington. The DUI enforcement effort is paid for through a PennDOT grant.
“The DUI patrol effort aims to prevent drunk driving by saturating Street Road and the surrounding area with additional officers,” according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities said Street Road in among the county’s businest roadways and had more than 10 percent of the county’s 6,175 reported crashes last year.
“Wednesday night is historically one of the biggest party nights of the year. Have a good time, but don’t drink or do drugs and drive,” said District Attorney Matt Weintraub. “Let’s all celebrate Thanksgiving safely.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data that showed more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday evening through early next Monday morning) on America’s roadways between 2013 and 2017.
Over the years, police have made numerous arrests during pre-Thanksgiving roving DUI patrols.
While arrests have come from the efforts, Bucks County’s Director of Law Enforcement Training Rich Vona said the prevention is the main goal of the roving patrols.
“So if you’re going to drink, stay off the streets or have a plan to get home safe,” he said.
Pennsylvania State Police said they will also be stepping enforcement efforts over the holiday weekend as part of the nationwide Click It or Ticket Operation Safe Holiday enforcement effort.
“The most effective ways to prevent collisions on the roadways and to arrive at your holiday destinations safely is to slow down, designate a sober driver, and never drive distracted,” said PennDOT District Executive Mike Keiser.
AAA released the following tips about Thanksgiving Eve:
- Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Don’t risk it.
- Make a plan ahead of time to have a sober, designated driver.
- If you don’t have a designated driver, call a friend or family member, taxi or car share service such as Uber or Lyft to get you home safely.
- Never let family or friends drive if they have had too much alcohol to drink.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact law enforcement.