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CHP will be out in force to ensure motorists get to their Thanksgiving destinations safely

Noel Harris

The Sacramento Bee

November 24, 2020

Planning to take a road trip for the Thanksgiving holiday? If you’re doing so but staying within state lines, the California Highway Patrol will be watching.

The CHP will be out in force for a maximum enforcement period, which runs from Wednesday at 6 p.m. until midnight Monday, a span of 102 hours. Officers will be looking for unsafe drivers, as well as being able to assist motorists in need.

“This year has presented us with many unforeseen challenges, but safety is still our priority,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a news release. “If you choose to travel this Thanksgiving weekend, our goal is to help motorists arrive at their destination without incident.”

The days surrounding Thanksgiving are known to be one of the busiest travel times of any year, CHP says. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic could be a bit lighter, but officers warn that drivers should not see emptier roads as a chance to push the pedal harder.

Officials said citations for excessive speed increased during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first 30 days of California’s stay-at-home order, citations for excessive speeding jumped by 87 percent, according to the CHP, Caltrans and the state Office of Traffic Safety.

Additionally, in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties under the state’s purple tier, encouraging people to only go about essential activities during those hours and to self-quarantine for 14 days if they are arriving from another state or country.

During the Thanksgiving enforcement period last year, 42 people died on California roadways, including two in the greater Sacramento area, according to CHP. Of the 27 fatalities, 11 were not wearing seat belts. Also, 867 arrests were made by CHP on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In the state’s last maximum enforcement effort, a 78-hour period for Labor Day, CHP officers made 924 DUI arrests, a 14 percent decrease when compared to the same period the previous year. However, 78 deaths were reported in both 2019 and this year.

The CHP also has maximum enforcement periods around New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

Read the full story here.

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