Wednesday Dec 24 2008
CHP will be out in force for Christmas weekend
By: Staff report
If you choose to drink and drive this holiday season, those flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror won’t belong to a red-nosed reindeer but to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer’s vehicle. In an effort to keep California’s roads safe, every available CHP officer will be out on the road during the Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period, which began at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continues through midnight, Sunday. “Consider this a warning,” said Auburn Area CHP Captain Rick Ward. “We will be out there taking a zero-tolerance approach and will arrest you if you are drinking and driving.” CHP officers arrested 1,661 motorists statewide for driving under the influence (DUI) during last Christmas’ Maximum Enforcement Period. During that same time period, 43 individuals died in the 4,613 collisions that occurred in California. Among those killed, 18 lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes. “Remember to designate a non-drinking driver before the celebrating begins, watch your speed and always wear your seatbelt,” Ward added. Along with the increased enforcement effort, the CHP is asking motorists to help keep the state’s roadways safe by calling 911 to report a suspected drunk driver. Callers should be prepared to provide dispatchers with a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel. “The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and celebrations; unfortunately it is also a time when we see too many alcohol-related highway fatalities,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Even if we save just one life by getting the message out, that is one life that has been spared.” The CHP will conduct a similar maximum enforcement effort over the New Year’s holiday weekend that begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and continues through midnight, Jan. 4.