CALIFORNIA — As the season of festivities continues, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is encouraging motorists to resolve to begin the New Year with a safe celebration that includes a designated sober driver.
Together, motorists and law enforcement can help make this holiday and every day safe for traveling on California roadways.
The CHP will observe the New Year with a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) from 6:01 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. All available personnel will be on duty.
The CHP will focus on impaired drivers, but officers will also watch for distracted driving, speeding, and seat belt violations, as well as motorists in need of assistance.
During the New Year’s holiday in 2015, 27 people died in collisions on California roadways. Also, CHP officers made more than 920 arrests for driving under the influence during the 78-hour New Year’s MEP.
“Driving while impaired is a crime that seriously risks your safety and the safety of those around you,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “If you drive while impaired, you could get arrested or worse – be involved in a traffic collision that causes serious injury or death.”
During the holidays, the number of travelers on the nations roadways peaks as friends and family come together to celebrate. As a result of holiday parties and gatherings, more drivers are impaired. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during the December holidays involve drunk drivers – a 12 percent increase over the rest of the month.
The CHP urges everyone to plan a safe ride home before the parties start. There are numerous alternatives to driving impaired, including calling a taxi or a sober friend or family member, using public transportation or the increasingly popular ride-hailing services.