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Rhode Island State Police arrested 16 people on suspicion of DUI over the holiday enforcement period, while a targeted enforcement by Connecticut State Police over the lengthy New Year's weekend lead to another 36 to be charged with DUI.

The enforcement, part of ongoing efforts in each state to reduce DUI and distracted driving, was conducted to try and curb unsafe habits and promote safe driving through the holidays.

“There is simply no excuse for anyone driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol,” said Col. Ann C. Assumpico, superintendent of Rhode Island State Police and director of the Department of Public Safety. “The Rhode Island State Police will continue to aggressively pursue, arrest and prosecute anyone who drives while under the influence, putting the lives of everyone else at risk.”

For Rhode Island State Police, the DUI charges stem from an enhanced enforcement period that began on Thursday, Dec. 20, and continued through 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Over that time, state troopers responded to 1,784 calls for including 975 motor vehicle stops, assisted 123 disabled motor vehicles and responded to 165 crashes. Troopers made a total of 96 arrests, 16 for DUI, and issued 1,076 citations and warnings for motor vehicle violations, including 417 for speeding, 92 for seatbelt violations and 14 for distracted driving.

Police The arrests resulted from intensive enforcement of Rhode Island laws as part of the national traffic enforcement campaign to keep intoxicated motorists off the roadways during the holidays. The 16 arrests for driving while impaired during the holiday period also resulted in the seizure of a handgun, an illegal knife (a switchblade) and illegal narcotics.

No local residents were charged with DUI in Rhode Island, police said. Of those motorists charged, 14 were Rhode Island residents, one was from Massachusetts and one was a resident of Florida.

In Connecticut, state troopers were equally as busy over the five-day weekend enforcement, which began on Friday and ended at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. During that period, police issued 2,010 tickets including 480 for speeding, 14 for seatbelt violations and 1,516 for all other violations. The figures represented an increase over the same period in 2019, which officials attributed to an increase in holiday travelers this year. 

Among those who were stopped, 36 people were charged with DUI. An additional 339 accidents were reported — 54 with injuries — and a total of 7,657 calls for service were made. Connecticut State Police also assisted a total of 286 motorists over the five-day enforcement.

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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