PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With everyone traveling this week, local and state police in Rhode Island are reminding drivers that extra patrols will be on the roads, watching closely for impaired drivers all weekend.
In an appeal Wednesday morning on the Washington Street overpass over I-95 in Providence, a group of law enforcement officials said Thanksgiving weekend is often a deadly one on the roads, and some crashes are caused by people who are intoxicated behind the wheel.
“There will be empty homes, empty dining room tables of family members sadly taken by danger on the roads,” Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements said.
“If you choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we will arrest you, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Col. Ann Assumpico said.
Clements said the state vehicle dedicated to blood alcohol testing – known as the “B.A.T. Mobile” – will be out looking for impaired drivers starting Wednesday night.
Assumpico said there were 28 people arrested for suspected drunk driving during last year’s Thanksgiving weekend, including a driver charged following a crash Thanksgiving afternoon that nearly killed a man.
“The victim’s car was hit so hard, it went off the road and flipped over,” Assumpico said. “He had a fractured spine, a broken collarbone, a fractured shoulder blade, several broken ribs. He also had what was described as a ‘traumatic brain bleed.'”
That man spent Thanksgiving fighting for his life in the hospital, she noted.
Peter Alviti, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and Diana Imondi, a spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association (AAA) Northeast, also appealed to drivers’ sense of duty.
If you drink, the group said, you should not drive; you should call a cab, use a ride-share service, or designate a sober driver.