CHP officers to intensify patrols for holiday weekend travel

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TEMECULA (CNS) – Although travel may be down this Memorial Day weekend because of the coronavirus pandemic, California Highway Patrol officers throughout Riverside County will still be on the job, cracking down on drunken or otherwise unsafe drivers.

Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, the CHP will initiate a statewide “maximum enforcement period,” during which all available officers hit the streets to catch drunken and drug-impaired motorists, as well as other traffic violators. The holiday weekend operation will conclude at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

“No matter what else changes in our world, the people of California can always count on the CHP to provide the highest level of safety, service and security,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “We will continue to enforce the traffic laws, help motorists who are in trouble and educate people about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.”

Officers from the Beaumont, Blythe, Indio, Riverside and Temecula CHP stations will patrol freeways, highways and unincorporated roads during the crackdown, which authorities acknowledged will likely lack the significant traffic volumes of the past, as residents remain closer to home amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

However, Stanley noted that a surge in speeding incidents involving motorists driving in excess of 100 mph because of reduced traffic is one reason why officers will not relax during the enforcement period.

“The rules still apply, no matter how little traffic there may be,” he said. “Obey the speed limit, fasten your seat belt, drive sober, and put down your phone.”

During last year’s Memorial Day weekend MEP, the CHP issued 1,099 citations, compared to 1,060 the prior year, according to the agency. Twenty-one vehicle occupants were killed in collisions investigated by the CHP during the 2019 operation. Statewide, in all jurisdictions, a total 34 fatalities occurred.

The CHP campaign will coincide with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols planned in a number of municipalities throughout Riverside County this weekend.