An end-of-year crackdown targeting drunken and drug-impaired drivers in Riverside County will begin Friday.

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

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

“Ringing in the New Year should be an exciting time filled with celebration and hope,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “To help keep the roadways safe through the holiday and beyond, our officers will be out in force to deter, detect and remove impaired drivers.”

The 2020-21 New Year’s MEP netted 709 DUI arrests statewide, compared to 491 in the 2019-20 campaign, which only lasted 30 hours because it was conducted in the middle of the week.

According to the CHP, 56 people died in crashes investigated by the agency during last year’s campaign. Roughly half of the fatalities involved individuals who were not wearing safety restraints of any kind, officials said.

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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