CHP Says “Tis The Season For Safe, Holiday Travel”

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The holidays are a time of celebration with family, friends and co-workers. Often, those holiday festivities involve travel, whether it’s to a relative’s house, home from the office Christmas party, or even just a quick trip to the store for a last-minute purchase. Regardless of what brings you out on the roadways this year, know that you’re in good company with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

On Friday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m., the CHP begins its Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) which continues through Sunday, Dec. 26 at 11:59 p.m. During this holiday weekend, CHP offices throughout the state plan for increased visible presence by deploying special enforcement teams, in addition to those who are already scheduled to work. “The holiday season is all about having good times with family and friends, and about sharing and giving,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “We want to make sure everyone enjoy their festivities, and therefore, our goal is to ensure you and your loved ones arrive at your destination safely.”

Drivers are reminded to always wear seatbelts, put children in appropriate safety seats, drive at a safe speed for various conditions, and never drink and drive during this holiday season. “Officers will be on the road to ensure motorists celebrate the holidays in a safe, responsible manner,” added Commissioner Farrow. “If your celebration involves alcohol, please designate a non-drinking driver.”

Last year during the CHP’s Christmas holiday enforcement effort, 22 people were killed in collisions statewide; among the vehicle occupants killed within CHP’s jurisdiction, more than half were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. CHP officers also accounted for 1,104 arrests made statewide for driving under the influence (DUI) during the 2009 Christmas MEP.

The CHP will conduct a similar holiday enforcement effort during the New Year’s weekend which begins Friday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m., and continues through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011.