CHP patch
Photo by John Schreiber.

California Highway Patrol officers will be out in force over the Thanksgiving weekend looking for motorists driving while impaired or violating other traffic laws, authorities said Wednesday.

The agency’s “maximum enforcement period” begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continues through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. During this period, all available officers will be deployed on patrol operations, the CHP reported.

“As millions of motorists head out for the Thanksgiving holiday, the CHP is prepared for one of the busiest travel weekends in America,” CHP spokesperson Fran Clader said in a statement. “Unfortunately, in the past, Thanksgiving has also been one of the deadlier holidays on our roadways.”

During the maximum enforcement period, CHP officers will be actively looking for unsafe driving practices, including impaired or distracted driving, unsafe speed, and vehicle occupants who fail to buckle up.

“Holiday travel can be stressful. By putting some simple safety measures in place, motorists can help keep themselves and others safe on the road this weekend,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Most important, before you head out, ensure everyone inside the vehicle has their seatbelt on, and if there are children along for the ride, check that they are secure in the back seat in the appropriate child safety seat.”

During last year’s Thanksgiving maximum enforcement campaign, the CHP arrested 931 people statewide on suspicion of driving under the influence, compared to 1,057 arrests during the previous Thanksgiving holiday period — a 12 percent decline.

A total of 59 people died in collisions on roads and highways statewide under the CHP’s jurisdiction over Thanksgiving weekend 2018.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost half of the vehicle passengers killed in collisions nationwide during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday period weren’t wearing seatbelts.

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