Can California have a fatality free holiday?
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Mike Brown has issued a challenge to the motorists this Independence Day holiday; one entire day with no traffic fatalities throughout the state.
Since 1968, when record keeping began, there have been only three days when death took a holiday from California roadways. The most recent fatal free day was September 12th, 2000. The other two were May 1 1991, and March 11th, 1968.
“We’ve never had a major holiday that didn’t include a traffic fatality in California. We’re hoping to make this a first,” said Captain Steve Bernard, Commander of the CHP Newhall Area Office.
Locally, the Newhall CHP Area Office has picked up the challenge by assigning extra officers to Patrol area roadways during the Maximum Enforcement Period (from 6p.m. July 3 through midnight July 4th). The last comparable Independence Day Maximum Enforcement Period was in 2001, when eight people were killed statewide.
“We are calling upon all our officers to be extra vigilant this Fourth of July in looking for unsafe drivers,” stated Captain Bernard.
Law enforcement can’t do it alone, however, and the CHP is calling on drivers to do their part as well. They are encouraging people to not speed, not drink and drive, to wear their seatbelts, and be sure that children are in proper child safety seats.
Motorists are also asked to reports drunk drivers by calling 911 with a description of the vehicle and its location.
“Drive as though your life depends on it. It does,” reminded Bernard. “We’re asking all motorists to be extra careful and courteous this Fourth of July.”
The Independence Day Maximum Enforcement Period is also an Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) holiday. Operation CARE is a joint program of the nation’s highway patrols that places special safety emphasis on interstate highways during holiday periods.