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Local Police Departments Step Up Efforts To Keep Drivers Safe On ‘Blackout Wednesday’

By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Local police departments are stepping up efforts to keep drivers safe on the roads during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It’s going to be one of the bigger nights for DUI,” Sgt. Mark Bradley, a 19-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department added, “Historically it’s one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.”

Bradley says Thanksgiving Eve, therefore, is one of the busiest nights for law enforcement, not just in the city but across the country. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving refers to this night as “Blackout Wednesday” noting this day marks the beginning of a spike in binge drinking and drunk driving during the holidays.

So officers from Philly and throughout the region are out in full force, on roving patrols for suspected drunk drivers.

“You’ll see the car going to the left and going to the right and almost hitting your parked cars,” Bradley explained.

In Philadelphia, the DUI enforcement teams were dispatched across the city but police say focus will be put on the heavily traveled corridors and roadways that have displayed some incidents historically and throughout the year:

-        Roosevelt Boulevard/9th Street to Southampton Road

-        Main Street Manayunk

-        Spring Garden Street/Delaware Avenue Night Club areas

Dominique Adams of West Chester supports the crackdown and added, “I think drinking and driving is not responsible.”

Andrew Peruzzi of Old City said, “Absolutely, I have to have a designated driver or take cabs.”

Bradley stressed, the goal for police on this night isn’t to make more arrests but rather to make sure everyone gets home safely.

“If you feel you’ve had too much to drink or somebody you know in your party has had too much to drink and they’re driving, go to the establishment, have them call you a taxi for the evening because your goal is to make it home safe to your family for the holiday,” Bradley said.

Bradley says the simple message here is for people to enjoy the holidays but enjoy themselves in moderation. He says even if the DUI roving patrols help to save just one life, he will consider that: Mission accomplished.

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