Dozens of lives were lost in crashes on California highways over the long Fourth of July weekend.
The California Highway Patrol released sobering totals that showed 68 people were killed during the agency’s Maximum Enforcement Period, which went into effect Friday evening.
Nearly half of all those killed were not wearing seatbelts, CHP said.
The CHP Maximum Enforcement Period was in place from Friday through the July 4 holiday, with increased law enforcement officers looking out for drunk or speeding drivers.
In total, across the multi-day enforcement period, CHP officers issued 9,700 citations for speeding and made 1,224 arrests on suspicion of driving under the influence. That’s an average of one arrest every five minutes, CHP said.
CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee called the results of the weekend long enforcement period “concerning.”
“All of these deaths were preventable, and the loved ones they leave behind will be forever impacted,” Duryee said. “Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility, and these statistics show us how much work there is still to be done.”
Duriyee insisted that the CHP is committed to making California roadways safer.
Maximum Enforcement Periods are planned in advance and typically coincide with long holiday weekends. The next MEP is scheduled to take place over Labor Day weekend in September.
Drivers are urged to avoid becoming a statistic by always wearing a seatbelt, driving below the posted speed limit and never getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.