During this heavily traveled Labor Day weekend, California Highway Patrol officers will be out on force, keeping a close eye on the roads and enforcing the law to keep motorists safe.
The three-day holiday is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the CHP, beginning Friday, at 6 p.m. continuing through through Monday at11:59 p.m. Throughout the MEP, all available officers will be on patrol cracking down in impaired drivers, speeders and those who are a danger to themselves and others on the state's roadways.
During last year's Labor Day weekend, 29 people were killed in traffic collisions across California; a 38 percent increase from the previous year. Motorists choosing not to wear safety equipment contributed to the drastic increase in casualties.
"It is very disheartening to know that 19 people lost their loves last Labor Day weekend as a result of not wearing their seat belt," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "What a tremendous price to pay for something that is entirely preventable."
The CHP averages around 1,500 arrests for impaired driving every Labor Day MEP. Californians who drink alcohol are highly encouraged to designate a non-drinking driver in advance of the weekend and we remind motorists to call 9-1-1 to report suspected drunk drivers.
"Impaired driving is more than a social issue, it is a criminal issue," said Commissioner Farrow. "As motorists travel throughout California, I want them to know the CHP will be out in force, working hard to remove impaired drivers and motorcycle riders from the roads. Our goal is for everyone to get safely to their destination."
The CHP offers the following safety tips to help keep drivers and motorcycle riders safe during this holiday weekend:
•Designate a non-drinking driver in advance or plan for alternative transporation if you will be consuming alcohol. If hosting a party, provide non-alcoholic drinks for the designated driver.
•Buckle up or wear proper safety equipment, depending on your mode of travel.
•Establish and enforce a distraction-free zone behind the wheel.
•Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so you are not speeding to get somewhere.
•Get plenty of rest and, of possible, coordinate with your passengers so that no one os driving while fatigued.
With law enforcement and highway workers keeping the freeways safe this busy weekend, drivers are also reminded of California's move over or slow down law. It requires motorists and motorcycle riders to change to another freeway lane, or when not able to, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the freeway. The law applies to authorized emergency vehicles, tow trucks, or Department of Transportation vehicles when displaying flashing emergency lights or amber warning lights.