An end-of-year crackdown targeting drunken and drug-impaired drivers in Riverside County will get underway Thursday evening.

The California Highway Patrol will initiate its New Year’s “maximum enforcement period” at 6 p.m., when all available officers deploy to catch impaired motorists, speeders and other traffic violators. The enforcement campaign will continue until late Sunday night.

Officers from the Riverside, Beaumont, Blythe, Indio and Temecula CHP stations will be on Inland Empire freeways, highways and unincorporated roads, looking to identify and stop suspects.

“Heading into the New Year, the mission of the CHP is unchanged to provide the highest level of safety, service and security,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “Together, with the public’s commitment to safe and sober driving, our officers will continue to work to make California’s roadways safe for all who use them.”

The CHP acknowledged that this year’s traffic volumes will undoubtedly be lower because of the public health lockdowns, but people will still be in transit, paying visits and going about their business. So the road rules remain in effect.

Because the 2019-20 MEP was in the middle of the week, it lasted only 30 hours, netting 491 DUI arrests within CHP jurisdictions. The 2018-19 campaign lasted four days, resulting in 1,140 arrests statewide.

This weekend’s crackdown will coincide with year-end anti-DUI campaigns involving the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and multiple municipal law enforcement agencies countywide.

Deputies and officers have been conducting saturation patrols and staffing sobriety checkpoints to catch intoxicated drivers. Operations will conclude Monday morning.

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