An end-of-year crackdown targeting drunken and drug-impaired drivers in Riverside County and around the state is underway Saturday and will continue into next week.

The California Highway Patrol initiated 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 Monday 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.

“Every year, people’s lives are impacted forever by making the decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “Driving impaired is never worth it and certainly not the way to ring in the New Year. Always designate a sober driver.”

The 2021-22 New Year’s MEP netted 495 arrests statewide, compared to 709 arrests during the 2020-21 campaign, according to the CHP.

The agency said that 29 people died in crashes investigated by the agency during last year’s campaign.

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 next week.

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