10 drivers nabbed in Thanksgiving Eve DUI sweep

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An effort to crack down on drunk driving during Thanksgiving weekend resulted in 10 arrests overnight, the state’s Impaired Driving Enforcement Task Force announced.

The night before Thanksgiving is considered the biggest drinking night of the year and both state and local police stepped up their efforts to keep the roads safe.

The task force, comprised of police departments from 17 cities and towns and Rhode Island State Police, said they arrested 10 drivers under suspicion of DUI between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday.

Six of the DUI suspects were processed by the task force’s Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit, or BAT Mobile.

The DUI crackdown will continue through the holiday weekend.

Cranston Police Sgt. Anthony McHugh said the increased activity stems from the number of people returning home for Thanksgiving.

“It’s probably the biggest drinking and driving night of the year,” he said.

McHugh said his department alone had 11 additional officers on the roads keeping an eye out for impaired drivers. According to him, 42 percent of all traffic fatalities in Rhode Island involve alcohol.

“As of today, 45 people have been killed on the highways of our state,” said McHugh. “We truly hope that this holiday season, and for the rest of the year, that it’s the safest it’s ever been.”

Police urge everyone going out drinking to have a plan in place and to call 911 if you see someone driving erratically.

In addition, the task force said one driver was arrested for drug possession, eight were arrested for driving with a suspended license, and 89 others were pulled over for violations such as speeding and not wearing a seat belt.