Police warn against impaired holiday driving

Journalists listen as police line up in front of the B.A.T. Mobile to drive home their impaired driving message for the Fourth of July holiday weekend at Wickford Town Beach July 1, 2022. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Police from across Rhode Island brought their “BAT Mobile” to the Wickford Town Beach Friday to demonstrate their preparedness to go after impaired drivers over the July Fourth holiday weekend.

“Starting today, the Rhode Island DUI Task Force will be deployed throughout the weekend, looking to apprehend drivers who have made the wrong decision to get behind the wheel impaired by either drugs or alcohol,” said North Kingstown Police Lieutenant Don Barrington.

“Law enforcement agencies across the state will be patrolling the roadways for signs of impaired drivers with the overall goal of taking impaired drivers off the road and preventing tragedies,” said Narragansett Police Chief Sean Corrigan, President of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, which organized the event, as it often does over holiday weekends.

“If you will be drinking, try to utilize public transportation or a ride-sharing service, family or friends to help you get home safely,” said Corrigan. “If you see someone else getting behind the wheel impaired, please interfere and take their keys.”

“We also encourage everyone to remain vigilant when you’re driving, safely pull over and dial 9-1-1 if you see an impaired driver on the road,” he said.

The “BAT Mobile” is a mobile home that is specially-equipped with breathalyzers, links to law enforcement databases and even holding cells. It will be centrally stationed this weekend in Providence near the intersection of Interstates 95 and 195.

The AAA auto club estimates 42 million people will be traveling on the roads across the nation over the course of the Independence Day holiday weekend, according to Vice President Lloyd Albert.

“People want to travel again, you know, post-COVID, absolutely,” Albert said. “We can anticipate gridlock here and there, an awful lot of traffic that people need to be cognizant of.”

He suggested motorists being their travels either early in the morning or late in the evening to bypass the heaviest traffic on most roads.