SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With holiday celebrations in full swing, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is preparing for increased enforcement throughout the heavy travel period to help ensure safety on the road. The CHP is reminding travelers to play by the rules behind the wheel: buckle up, adhere to the posted speed limit, avoid distractions behind the wheel, and never drive while impaired.
The CHP’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday enforcement effort begins Friday, December 21 at 6 p.m. and continues through Tuesday, December 25 at 11:59 p.m. During this Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP), all available officers will be out on the roadways for enhanced enforcement efforts and assisting motorists wherever needed.
“The winter holidays can pose some of the toughest challenges for our officers,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Inclement weather, holiday celebrations, and drivers in a hurry to get to their destination can make for a deadly combination. We want you to enjoy the season and remember that safety is a crucial element.”
The holiday season can be particularly dangerous for drivers. Young adults, males and those driving at night, are among those who have the greatest risk of being involved in a collision with an alcohol-impaired driver or worse yet, losing their lives. Local law enforcement will be out in force, cracking down on impaired driving.
Last year during the Christmas holiday weekend, 14 people were killed in collisions in California; half of the people killed in CHP jurisdiction were not wearing a seat belt. In addition, the CHP made 980 arrests for driving under the influence during the 78-hour Christmas MEP.
“Now is the time of year when celebrations increase, as well as the chance of encountering an impaired driver,” added Commissioner Farrow. “One way to keep everyone safe, and reduce the odds of spending the holidays in jail, is to designate a non-drinking driver in advance. Your life may depend on it.”
There are three simple ways you can help prevent a tragedy: Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver beforehand, or make arrangements for a safe way home. If you drink, do not drive. If you are impaired, instead of getting behind the wheel, find another way home. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member or use public transportation. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person drive. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. You may save someone’s life.
Along with the increased enforcement effort, the CHP is asking motorists to help keep the state’s roadways safe by calling 911 to report a suspected drunk driver. Callers should be prepared to provide dispatchers a description of the vehicle, its location, and direction of travel.
The CHP will conduct a similar MEP effort over the New Year’s holiday weekend from Friday, December 28 at 6:01 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.