Although travel may be down this Memorial Day weekend because of the coronavirus pandemic, California Highway Patrol officers throughout Riverside County are still on the job, cracking down on drunk or otherwise unsafe drivers.

“No matter what else changes in our world, the people of California can always count on the CHP to provide the highest level of safety, service and security,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “We will continue to enforce the traffic laws, help motorists who are in trouble and educate people about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.”

Since 6 p.m. Friday, the CHP has conducted a statewide “maximum enforcement period” during which all available officers hit the streets to catch drunken and drug-impaired motorists and other traffic violators. The holiday weekend operation will conclude at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

Officers from the Beaumont, Blythe, Indio, Riverside and Temecula CHP stations are patrolling freeways, highways and unincorporated roads during the crackdown, which authorities acknowledge will likely lack the significant traffic volumes of the past, as residents remain closer to home amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

However, Stanley noted that a surge in speeding incidents involving motorists driving in excess of 100 mph because of reduced traffic is one reason officers will not relax during the enforcement period.

“The rules still apply, no matter how little traffic there may be,” he said. “Obey the speed limit, fasten your seat belt, drive sober, and put down your phone.”

The CHP no longer provides daily updates on traffic accidents and fatalities during long holiday weekends, but will release that data after the enforcement period is over.

During last year’s Memorial Day weekend Maximum Enforcement Period, the CHP issued 1,099 citations, compared to 1,060 the prior year, according to the agency. Twenty-one vehicle occupants were killed in collisions investigated by the CHP during the 2019 operation. Statewide, in all jurisdictions, a total 34 fatalities occurred, figures showed.

The CHP campaign will coincide with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols planned in a number of municipalities throughout Riverside County this weekend.

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