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Public Safety

CHP plans 'maximum enforcement' for Thanksgiving weekend

A California Highway Patrol vehicle in San Diego County. Sept. 1, 2020.
Alexander Nguyen
/
KPBS
A California Highway Patrol vehicle in San Diego County. Sept. 1, 2020.

The California Highway Patrol will be intensifying its operations in the San Diego area and statewide starting Wednesday evening for five days as part of its annual effort to get intoxicated motorists off the roadways over the Thanksgiving weekend.

During the yearly maximum enforcement period, scheduled to run from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, all available CHP officers will be on duty, scouting local freeways and rural routes for DUI offenders, the state agency advised.

"As with every holiday, the CHP will work to keep motorists safe as they travel to gatherings with friends and family," CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said Monday. "Our officers will be on patrol to take enforcement action as necessary and to provide assistance to motorists who are stranded or in need of help on the side of the road."

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During last year's Thanksgiving safe-roads campaign, the CHP jailed 1,033 people statewide on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, compared with 868 arrests over the comparable period in 2020, the agency reported.

Last year, 42 people died in collisions and other incidents on roadways under the CHP's jurisdiction over the Thanksgiving weekend. The fatalities included 16 pedestrians and a bicyclist.

Half the vehicle passengers killed in collisions nationwide during the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2020 -- the latest year for which data is available -- were not wearing seatbelts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In related news, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department will increase its patrols Wednesday through Sunday.

"Crashes caused by impaired driving are 100 percent preventable," Sheriff Anthony Ray said. "Do the responsible thing: Don't drink and drive." According to a news release, county deputies so far in 2022 have arrested more than 750 people on suspicion of impaired driving.

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Sheriff's officials said impaired driving can also involve the use of marijuana, over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications, especially if combined with alcohol and illegal drugs.

The department suggested that residents plan a safe way to get home during the Thanksgiving holiday. Safety tips include leaving the car keys at home and choosing a sober driver, and using a taxi, ride-sharing service or public transportation.

Residents who see an impaired driver on the road may call 911 or the sheriff's department at 858-565-5200, according to the county.

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