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November 21, 2016

DUI 'saturation patrol' set in Bucks County on Thanksgiving eve

Police from eight Bucks County departments will staff roving DUI patrols on Wednesday night along one of the county's longest, busiest and most accident-prone roads.

Beginning at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve along the Street Road corridor, 21 officers from Bensalem, Middletown, Solebury, Upper Southampton, Warrington and Warwick Townships, as well as Newtown and Penndel Boroughs, will patrol the four-lane thoroughfare from Bensalem to Warrington, as well as its feeder streets, until about 3 a.m. Thursday. The Warminster police department will serve as a booking station.

The saturation patrol is the first in a year-long series of enforcement actions planned by Bucks County’s DUI Task Force, according to a statement by Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub. The effort is largely funded by a continuing federal safety grant administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

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A similar task force patrol along Street Road on Thanksgiving Eve 2015 resulted in the arrest of 10 motorists on suspicion of driving under the influence. One person was charged with a drug offense and another was arrested on an outstanding warrant, the district attorney's office said.

AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts that more people will be traveling this weekend than on any Thanksgiving since 2007. About 569,000 Philadelphia-area residents are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this weekend, about 89 percent of them by vehicle.

In Pennsylvania, the Thanksgiving weekend was the third-deadliest holiday period in 2015, with 21 traffic deaths and 1,428 crashes, according to PennDOT.

Deterring motorists from driving impaired is the main goal, those found to be drunk or under the influence of drugs will be arrested, Weintraub said.

“Thanksgiving Eve has historically been among the worst for DUI incidents across the county and the country,” Weintraub said. “By publicizing and operating this roving DUI task force countywide, we hope to accomplish three goals: prevention, deterrence and public protection.

“It’s simple,” the D.A. said. “Have fun; just don’t drink and drive.”