For many, Thanksgiving is a time for getting together with friends and loved ones to give thanks. Knowing that the holidays can make for busy conditions on the roadways, the California Highway Patrol is prepared to keep traffic moving and motorists safe throughout the long weekend.
Thanksgiving is a maximum-enforcement period for the CHP, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and extending through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
“Motorists are less likely to encounter one of our officers by simply wearing their seat belt,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Not only does the law require everyone inside the vehicle to be properly secured, seat belts are your best line of defense in a collision.”
Collisions increased significantly during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Tragically, 32 people lost their lives on California’s roadways last year due to collisions; this was a 52 percent increase from Thanksgiving 2010. Two-thirds of the people killed in collisions within the CHP’s jurisdiction last year were not wearing a seat belt.
“Although the majority of motorists in California are buckling up every time they get into a vehicle, there is still a small portion of the motoring public that need this reminder,” Farrow said. “By not wearing your seat belt, the risk of death or injury in a collision substantially increases.”
The CHP also would like to remind motorists to avoid distracted driving, travel at a speed that is safe for conditions and also designate a non-drinking driver for the safety of everyone on the road. Last year during the Thanksgiving holiday, the CHP made 1,475 arrests for driving under the influence.
The public is encouraged to report unsafe or impaired drivers by calling 911.