The three-day Memorial Day weekend is here and many Californians and out-of-state visitors are kicking off the holiday with social gatherings, road trips and beach days, which means heavier traffic.

The holiday weekend is known to bring increased traffic and car accidents throughout California. During this time last year, 45 people were killed in car crashes in California, a significant 30% increase from 2021, CHP said.

In anticipation of increased traffic, the California Highway Patrol is heightening its police presence with the aim of reducing the number of fatal crashes during the holiday weekend. 

CHP implemented a California statewide Maximum Enforcement Period, employing all available officers, that began at 6:01 p.m. on May 26 and will run through 11:59 p.m. on May 29. 

During the MEP, officers will be assisting drivers, looking for traffic violations that could lead to serious injury or death, and making sure people are wearing their seatbelts. 

“The core mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the communities we serve,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “This holiday, motorists can expect to see additional CHP officers patrolling California’s roadways.  All available uniformed members of this Department will be on patrol during this Memorial Day MEP. ”

In addition to helping drivers and probing traffic violations, CHP authorities will also be paying closer attention to people who are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. 

In 2022 alone, CHP arrested nearly 900 people for DUI charges during Memorial Day weekend. 

“Our primary focus will be to enhance public safety, deter unsafe driving behavior, and when necessary, take appropriate enforcement action,”  Commissioner Duryee said. 

Here are some tips to stay safe on the road this weekend: 

  • Designate a sober driver or use a ride-share service.
  • If you see or suspect an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 immediately and be prepared to provide the dispatcher a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, location, and direction of travel.  
  • Seat belts save lives. Take two seconds to secure your safety and buckle up.