After 573 arrests last Christmas, CHP seeks to stop DUI drivers with ‘maximum enforcement period’

In this CHP photo, an officer is seen at a checking a motorist at a DUI checkpoint over Labor Day weekend.

In this file photo from CHP, an officer is seen at a checking a motorist at a DUI checkpoint over Labor Day weekend.

California Highway Patrol officers will be out in full force for the upcoming Christmas weekend as they work to keep DUI drivers off the road and ensure motorists make it to their holiday destinations safely.

CHP’s “maximum enforcement period” will start at 6:01 p.m. Friday and end 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to a Tuesday news release from the agency.

All available officers will be patrolling California roads during that time “for enhancement enforcement,” the release stated. They will also be helping motorists or pedestrians in need of assistance.

“Our goal is the same as yours, to make certain you arrive safely at your destination,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in the release

In the 78-hour holiday enforcement period last Christmas, at least 38 people died in crashes statewide, according to CHP data. And 573 motorists were arrested on suspicion of impaired driving.

CHP officials remind drivers to never operate a vehicle under the influence, and also to wear their seat belt and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.

More people will be out on California’s roads for the end-of-the-year holidays in 2021 compared to 2020 — particularly in the southern part of the state, where travel is expected to be the third busiest on record for the region, according to AAA’s forecast.

Approximately 7.8 million Southern Californian residents are projected to hit the roads and drive to their holiday destination between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, the forecast shows. Statewide, that figure is about 12.6 million. Both numbers are increases of 28% over the same period last year.

The top travel destinations for Southern Californians for the holidays are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, Anaheim, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.

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