Since Thanksgiving Eve, the tally of Thanksgiving holiday DUI arrests in Tampa has climbed to over 50. Heightened patrols continue tonight. Are you prepared?
Through the hours of the night and into the morning, at least another 10 DUI arrests were made, primarily by HCSO, who had announced their heightened patrol in advance. Tampa PD also made several arrests, and there was another by USF Police Department. There is a heightened patrol again tonight by HCSO – Keep reading to see patrol locations and hours. FHP and Tampa PD continue to be in force this holiday weekend.
There were at least another dozen DUI arrests since the most recent update on 11/26. Aside from a late morning arrest just before 7 a.m. and a midday arrest just before 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, most of the arrests occurred at night, during announced heightened patrol hours. Arresting agencies included HCSO and FHP, while most of the arrests were made by Tampa Police Department, as well as a couple by Temple Terrace Police Department.
Keep reading for announced patrol locations and hours.
Wednesday night’s DUI enforcement efforts netted at least 12 DUI arrests ranging from shortly before 11 p.m. to as early as 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. The combined efforts of HCSO and FHP during their Wolf Pack patrol were responsible for the majority of the arrests. Tampa Police Department and USF Police also made some DUI arrests during Blackout Wednesday.
- Friday Nov. 27th: 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Southern Hillsborough County
- Saturday Nov. 28th: 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Eastern Hillsborough County
Southern Hillsborough County includes Gibsonton, Adamsville, Apollo Beach, Progress Village, Bloomingdale, Riverview, Gulf City, Ruskin, Sun City Center, Balm, Lithia, Fort Lonesome, and other smaller neighborhoods.
Eastern Hillsborough County includes Brandon and Plant City, as well as East Lake – Orient Park, Mango, Seffner, Sydney, Valrico, Durant, Hopewell, Keysville and other smaller neighborhoods.
According to the Urban Dictionary, many refer to Thanksgiving Eve as “Black Wednesday,” or “Blackout Wednesday.” The top definition says: “…you should get blacked out. No one has work or class the next day, so there are NO EXCUSES.”
By many, it is considered the biggest party night of the year, and local Tampa Bay bars are likely set to have one of their busiest nights. College kids are home for the holidays and not only is it a time to reconnect with family, but to celebrate with friends. A little planning ahead may help keep everyone in high holiday spirits throughout Thanksgiving weekend.
Thanksgiving Eve Hot Spots in Tampa Bay
Depending on where you end up spending the night, a hot spot could either be one of the celebrations taking place in Tampa or one of the DUI arrest locations nearby. DUI patrols will be out in force tonight, and they know where partygoers are most likely to grab their last drink. As part of their DUI Enforcement campaign, HCSO has been collecting last drink information from Tampa bars, and is using it to try and keep the roads safer.
Since 2014, Tampa Bay Police Department has been working with South Tampa bars to spot impaired drivers and suggest they find another way home. TBPD spokeswoman Andrea Davis said that “valet drivers have been advised to notify them when an impaired driver gets behind the wheel.” (wfla.com)
Some of the top bars on a recent HCSO last drink survey are having Thanksgiving Eve bashes tonight. Uber also lists some of these locations as their top pick-up spots, leading some to believe services like Uber are helping reduce DUIs in Tampa Bay. So, consider yourself in good company if you are planning a safe ride home from one of the following Thanksgiving Eve Celebrations tonight:
- MacDinton’s Irish Pub: Thanksgiving Eve Happy Hour
- The Lodge: Thanksgiving Eve Party
- Hyde Park Cafe: Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Party
- Ferg’s Live Tampa: Roasted, Thanksgiving Eve Celebration
- Shepards, Clearwater: Electric Tiki Beach
The DUI Wolf Pack is on Patrol in Hillsborough County
Tonight from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m, HCSO and FHP are planning a multi-agency saturation patrol, also known as a Wolf Pack patrol. The focus will be in Western Hillsborough County. This area may include Westchase and Citrus Park and other areas in the part of Hillsborough County to the west of Tampa, but the HCSO website lists some factors regarding the patrol as TBD, to be determined, so it may extend to other areas. Tampa Bay Police Department has its own heightened Click it or Ticket campaign in place this Thanksgiving holiday.
Steps to Keep Your Holiday Happy
A little common sense goes a long way on a holiday that is one of America’s deadliest on the roads. To start, it makes sense to plan your ride ahead, whether it’s a designated driver, a cab ride, or a service like Uber, Lyft, or Zingo. Another service is Tow 2 Go from AAA and Bud Light. It’s available this Thanksgiving holiday from tonight until Sunday morning and it’s free. CALL (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246.
Once you get your ride with a sober driver, buckle up. According to FHP, there were 3,988 crashes on Florida roads during the Thanksgiving period last year. Of the 43 people killed, ten were not wearing seat belts. FHP director Col. Gene Spaulding advises that “buckling your seatbelt is one of the simplest, safest things you’ll ever do to stay alive.”
Sergeant Gaskins of FHP reminds drivers that this is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, with 45-50 million people on the roads across the country. Families are often able to get together more during Thanksgiving than during other holidays and Gaskins reminds us that, when celebrating, “personal responsibility is key.” To help keep the roads safe, he asks you to dial *FHP from your cellphones if you encounter impaired or aggressive drivers on the roads. As always, you can use this number to summon help, should you need it.
Everyone likes to have fun and celebrate with friends we haven’t seen in a while. Planning ahead and using a little common sense can keep Thanksgiving the perfect time of year to make even more great memories.