People planning to hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday weekend need to be strapped in, careful of their speed and mindful of other traffic safety rules—or face fines and other penalties, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continuing to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the CHP will be cracking down on traffic violators during its annual Thanksgiving "maximum enforcement period."
All available CHP officers are deployed for the MEP. During last year's crackdown, the agency arrested 41 people in the Riverside area on suspicion of DUI, and 496 citations were issued for a variety of infractions.
Statewide, 1,475 people were arrested.
The MEP coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-sponsored "Thanksgiving Holiday Travel -- Buckle Up, Every Trip, Every Time" campaign.
"Although the majority of motorists in California are buckling up every time they get into a vehicle, there's still a small portion of the motoring public that need this reminder," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "By not wearing your seat belt, the risk of death or injury in a collision substantially increases."
Thirty-two people died in roadway collisions in areas patrolled by the CHP during the 2011 Thanksgiving MEP. According to the agency, two-thirds of the victims were not wearing safety belts.
Along with Riverside, CHP offices in Beaumont, Indio and Temecula will be actively involved in the MEP.
"Motorists are less likely to be stopped by one of our officers if they simply wear their seat belts," said Temecula Area CHP Capt. Ernie Sanchez. "Not only is it required by law that everyone inside the vehicle be properly secured, seat belts are your best line of defense in a collision."
-City News Service