With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, the CaliforniaHighway Patrol (CHP) urges motorists to use caution and considerationduring their holiday driving.
“Memorial Day weekend can be a safe celebration for everyone,” saidCHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “It’s about making sound decisions andplanning ahead before you head out on the highway, for example wearingyour seat belt and designating a non-drinking driver beforehand.”
The three-day holiday is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for theCHP. All available officers will be patrolling the roadways during theMEP, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 22 and extends until midnight onMonday, May 25.
The CHP’s maximum enforcement effort is also part of the state’srecently launched 2009 Memorial Day Next Generation Click It or Ticketmobilization. The start-of-summer campaign is supported by $3 millionin traffic safety grants awarded by the California Office of TrafficSafety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. TheCHP’s primary mission is to prevent loss of life and injury to allmotorists. That mission parallels the Strategic Highway Safety plan, aroadmap for improving safety on the state’s roadways that all statetraffic safety organizations follow. An element of the plan is toimprove the use of passenger restraints.
During the 2008 Memorial Day weekend, 38 people died on California’sroadways; 68 percent of those killed in CHP jurisdiction were notwearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
“Many of those deaths could have been easily avoided by taking justone second to buckle a seat belt,” stated Commissioner Farrow. “Unfortunately, too many motorists still need a reminder, which iswhy our officers will be on the lookout for those who are not buckledup.”
In addition to those who fail to fasten their seatbelt, speeders andmotorists driving under the influence may find themselves on the wrongside of the law. Last year CHP officers statewide arrested 1,450drivers for DUI during the Memorial Day weekend.
The Memorial Day MEP is also an Operation Combined Accident ReductionEffort (CARE) holiday. Operation CARE is a joint program of thenation’s highway patrols that places special safety emphasis oninterstate highways during holiday periods. CARE highways in Californiainclude Interstates 80, 40, 15 and 5.