As motorists prepare to head out onto the highway forsome summer fun this Independence Day, the California Highway Patrol(CHP) is doing its part to help keep the fireworks where they belong… inthe sky. And with some advance planning, the CHP hopes this can be asafe celebration for everyone.
“Plan ahead and allow extra time for travel on busy roads, buckle upbefore you head out and don’t speed,” reminded CHP Commissioner JoeFarrow. “Speeding reduces a driver's ability to steer safely aroundcurves or react to hazards in the roadway.”
Fourth of July weekend is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for theCHP. All available officers will patrol the roadways during the MEP,which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, July 3 and extends until midnight onSunday, July 5.
Last year over the three-day, Fourth of July weekend, 41 people died onCalifornia’s roadways; nearly half of those killed in CHP jurisdictionwere not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, and onemotorcyclist who died was without a helmet.
“Many of those deaths could have been easily avoided by taking amoment to buckle a seat belt,” stated Commissioner Farrow. “Propersafety equipment takes a moment to secure and can make all thedifference between walking away from a crash, or being carried away on astretcher.”
In addition to speeders and those who fail to buckle up, officers willbe looking for drivers under the influence. Last year, over the Fourthof July holiday, CHP officers statewide arrested 1,684 people for DUI.
“If you’re going to drink, do not drive,” urged CommissionerFarrow. “And equally important, don't get into a vehicle with adriver who has been drinking. Plan ahead and designate a non-drinkingdriver.”
The Independence Day MEP is also an Operation Combined AccidentReduction Effort (CARE) holiday. Operation CARE is a joint program ofthe nation’s highway patrols that places special safety emphasis oninterstate highways during holiday periods. CARE highways in Californiainclude Interstates 80, 40, 15 and 5.