Source: California Highway Patrol
As Californians get ready for holiday travel, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is set to begin its Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP).
The holiday enforcement effort is designed to help ensure the safety of the motoring public during a time when celebrations are in full swing.
The MEP begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues through 11:59 p.m. Monday. The focus of the MEP is speed limit enforcement, but officers will also be watching for all signs of impaired driving.
During this period, all available officers will be out on the roadways for enhanced enforcement efforts and assisting motorists wherever needed.
“We want everyone to enjoy their holiday celebration, which means protecting yourself, your passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians,” CHP Acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Fasten your seat belt, drive sober, and pay attention to the roadway.”
The winter holidays are meant to be a joyful and relaxing time, but they unfortunately also result in a considerable loss of life on the nation’s roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nationwide, 781 people died in impaired-driving related collisions during December 2016.
Twenty-three people died in collisions in CHP jurisdiction during the 2016 Christmas MEP. Of the 16 vehicle occupants who were killed, half were not wearing a seat belt. Five pedestrians and two motorcyclists were also killed and 621 people were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in CHP jurisdiction.
In all California jurisdictions, including local police and sheriffs’ departments, 36 people died in collisions.
Any impaired driving, whether by alcohol, legal drugs, or illegal drugs, can result in a DUI arrest. A slowed reaction due to medication is as dangerous as any other impairment and will increase the risk of a traffic collision.
An impaired driving arrest can also mean a major hit in the wallet. The fine for a first-offense DUI along with associated costs can total more than $15,000 in California. If you see an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 when you can do so safely.