More than 46 million people are expected to travel by car during the Thanksgiving holiday nationwide and state police in Rhode Island and Connecticut are stepping up efforts to help assure a safe holiday for travelers.
Rhode Island State Police and 17 departments, including Westerly and Richmond, will again initiate the Statewide Impaired Driving Task Force to take aim at drunken and distracted driving. A similar five-day enforcement led to 10 DUI-related arrests and 537 traffic citations last year. State police also responded to 87 accidents.
Another initiative is “Buckle Up Faithfully,” announced Tuesday by state police, the state Department of Transportation and religious leaders.
“We need everyone’s help to keep the roadways safe during the upcoming holidays,” said Col. Ann C. Assumpico, state police superintendent. “We encourage all motorists to drive safely and responsibly, and we also ask that you call 911 immediately if you see anyone operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner. We can't be everywhere all the time, but with your help, we will aggressively pursue any motorist whose actions threaten the lives of others during the holidays and throughout the year.”
In Connecticut, officials said state police would supplement their patrol personnel with additional troopers throughout the holiday weekend.
“Troopers are committed to reducing crashes through preventive enforcement initiatives such as roving DUI patrols,” said Trooper First Class Kelly Grant. “Troopers will also be looking for violators who cause accidents on Connecticut roads and highways. Every effort to reduce accidents will be taken.”
Last year, more than 3,500 tickets were issued during the holiday period and 51 people were arrested on suspicion of DUI. The state police investigated 392 accidents.
Grant said the force, using marked and unmarked vehicles, will have roving patrols throughout the state and will post troopers to conduct checkpoints. Police are urging motorists who suspect someone of drunk driving to consider it an emergency and call 911 immediately, Grant said.
The special enforcement in each state will begin Wednesday evening and continue throughout the day on Sunday.