RIVERSIDE – Motorists heading out to join friends and family or have other sorts of fun during the Thanksgiving weekend need to remember to drive sober and safely – or there could be consequences, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The agency will initiate its annual Thanksgiving “maximum enforcement period” today at 6 p.m., when all available officers deploy to catch DUI offenders, speeders and other traffic violators
The effort will continue until Sunday night, Nov. 29.
During last year’s Thanksgiving maximum enforcement campaign, the CHP arrested nearly 1,000 people statewide for DUI, about 16 percent fewer than the year before.
A total of 45 people died in collisions on roads and highways under the CHP’s jurisdiction during the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend. That represented a 36 percent jump from the prior year, said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.
“Having a safe Thanksgiving drive this year – and being here to enjoy next Thanksgiving – can be as simple as buckling up,” Farrow said. “Nearly half the people who died in the CHP’s jurisdiction over Thanksgiving last year were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision.”
Officers from the Riverside, Beaumont, Indio and Temecula CHP stations will be on inland freeways, highways and unincorporated roads, looking to snare scofflaws.
The maximum enforcement period coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Buckle Up America – Every Trip, Every Time,” campaign, emphasizing seat belt safety.
“Buckling up, avoiding distracted driving, traveling at a safe speed, designating a sober driver – all are especially important during the holidays,” Farrow said.