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Ring in 2016 Safely and DUI-Free: Bucks / Montco Roving Patrols to Focus on New Year's Revelers

December 30, 2015
Eleven municipal departments and State Police to collaborate on Route 611, 309 corridors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Weintraub, Chief of Prosecution: 215.340.8159

Two of the region’s busiest and most accident-prone roads will be swarming with police on New Year’s Eve as officers seek to keep revelers safe by stopping anyone who chooses to drive after over-celebrating.

From 10 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday, 11 officers from Bensalem, Middletown, New Britain, Warrington and Warwick Townships and Penndel Borough will supplement the normal patrols along the Route 611 corridor in Bucks County. In addition to Warrington, municipal departments cooperating with the added patrols in their jurisdictions include Doylestown, Plumstead and Bedminster Townships.

Extra patrols by officers from Horsham and Upper Moreland Townships will extend the coverage along 611 well into Montgomery County, to at least the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Pennsylvania State Police troopers from the Dublin barracks will also be joining this effort by boosting patrols along U.S. 309 in Bucks County during the same time period.

The goal is to deter motorists from driving while impaired in the first place, said Matt Weintraub, Chief of Prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office. Officers will be looking for signs of unsafe driving and will arrest anyone found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.

“New Year’s Eve is a great time to celebrate with our friends and family,” Weintraub said. “We just ask that if you do, then do so safely. If you drink, please be responsible. Have a designated driver, stay over, call a cab, call Uber. Just don’t put yourself and others at risk by drinking and driving.”

The New Year’s Eve patrol is the second in a year-long series of Bucks County traffic enforcement actions undertaken by a county-wide DUI task force. This effort is largely funded by a continuing federal safety grant administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The first operation under the current grant took place on Thanksgiving Eve along the Street Road corridor. During a five-hour period, 10 motorists were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Charges have been filed or are pending in all of those cases.

One of the Thanksgiving Eve arrests came after a 21-year-old Bensalem man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was thrown from a vehicle driven by a friend who police allege was impaired. That incident is still under investigation.

The threat of DUI-fueled tragedy, always great during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, is especially so this year. AAA has projected record-high travel during the current holiday season. More than 100 million U.S. motorists were expected to be on the roads during the holidays, 1.1 million of them from the five-county Philadelphia region.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that six people died in Pennsylvania as a result of 189 crashes involving impaired drivers during the New Year’s holiday last year. Eleven of those crashes were in Bucks County and 10 were in Montgomery County. Fortunately, no deaths resulted from the local crashes.

Because impaired driving is a year-round concern – 23 people died in Bucks County crashes involving drunken drivers in 2013-14 – the task force plans additional roving DUI patrols and checkpoints throughout the coming year. These will be announced as the dates approach.

Bucks County is proud to host the oldest county-wide impaired driving enforcement program in Pennsylvania. For more than a decade, Impaired Driving Program grants have been provided through PennDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in cooperation with the PA DUI Association. The grants help pay for salary reimbursement for officers who participate in the program, as well as for equipment used in DUI enforcement. 

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