The California Highway Patrol is following up its Christmas “maximum enforcement period” — during which 1,100 arrests were made — with the New Year’s Eve version that began December 28 and runs through just before midnight on January 1. Officers will not only be on extra high alert for drinking drivers, but also be watching for distracted drivers texting or making phone calls, those not wearing seatbelts, and those who are speeding.
During the four-day Christmas enforcement period, 47 people were killed in collisions on California highways. Nearly half of them, 41 percent, were not wearing a seatbelt. In last year’s end-of-year enforcement period, 40 people died in traffic accidents, two-thirds of whom were not wearing seatbelts at the time.
“Impairment of any kind while driving is illegal,” warned CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Alcohol, cannabis, or legal or illegal drugs can all affect your driving.” According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 95 percent of drivers know that driving after drinking is a serious threat personally; nonetheless, 13.5 percent reported they’d driven when they thought their alcohol level was too high. To avoid becoming a statistic, the CHP suggests figuring out an alternative ride before starting the party, such as a sober friend or family member, and taxi services.