Police arrest alleged impaired drivers on St. Patrick’s night

The mobile blood alcohol testing unit known as the "BAT Mobile."

(WPRI) – As with any holiday weekend, state and local police were on high alert for suspected drunk drivers on the road last night on St. Patrick’s Day.

Rhode Island State Police Cpl. Jeff Coleman tells Eyewitness News state police made four DUI arrests last night. Coleman added that on a typical Friday evening, state police make no more than 1 to 2 DUI arrests on average.

Not everyone took the advice in the DOT’s signs over local highways providing a holiday-themed warning: “Don’t trust the luck of the Irish–designate a driver.”

As we reported Friday night, the Breath Alcohol Testing Unit, or B.A.T. mobile, was stationed on Post Road in Warwick.

“The Warwick Police Department had a total of five DUI arrests” Friday night, Warwick Police Lt. Earl Read tells Eyewitness News. Four of those five suspected DUI drivers were taken to the B.A.T. mobile to be processed, instead of being taken to the station.

“It’s a central location,” says Read. “The officers can make the roadside arrest [and] bring them there instead of coming back to headquarters.” He added that the B.A.T. mobile cuts down on the time it takes to book a suspect by 30-45 minutes for an officer.

In an attempt to prevent needing the B.A.T. mobile at all, Warwick Police also implemented their safe ride home program, which offers free rides to any person who calls the station. Police say eight people called the station this year.

“I think we got three or four calls last year so this year with the eight we definitely saw an increase in the use and that’s why we are doing it,” said Read.

St. Patrick’s Day may be over, but the weekend is not. Police are reminding the public to celebrate smart, and be safe.

“It’s a great, great season to celebrate a great weekend to celebrate [but] it can turn very tragic when people make the wrong decisions and there are many options out there to get home safely, to designate the safe driver, to designate the sober driver, and to call someone else for a ride if they need it.”