Drive safe and sober during the Christmas holiday weekend, or face consequences, the California Highway Patrol warned Thursday.

The agency will initiate its annual Christmastime “maximum enforcement period” beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, when all available officers will deploy to catch drunken or drug-impaired drivers, speeders and other traffic violators.

The MEP will conclude late Sunday night.

“The CHP will be out on California’s roadways while the public travels to join friends and family this weekend,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “Our goal is the same as yours — to make certain you arrive safely at your destination. From our family to yours, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday.”

During last year’s Christmas MEP, CHP officers statewide arrested 573 motorists on suspicion of DUI. According to the agency, 38 people died in crashes investigated by the CHP over the 2020 holiday weekend.

Officers from the Riverside, Blythe, Beaumont, Indio and Temecula CHP stations will be on inland freeways, highways and unincorporated roads, looking to snare scofflaws.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, along with multiple municipal agencies countywide, will be conducting their own operations, staffing sobriety checkpoints and deploying for targeted patrols between now and New Year’s Day.

Another MEP is slated for New Year’s weekend.

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