Millions of Californians will travel the roads this Thanksgiving holiday weekend to visit with family and friends. While this time of year is usually full of joy, it can be one of the deadliest on the roadways. To help motorists avoid tragedies, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will have all available officers on patrol during the Thanksgiving Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP).
Although the number of people killed in traffic collisions during last year’s Thanksgiving weekend was down from 2014, tragically 35 people died in collisions in California. Of the 17 vehicle occupants killed within CHP jurisdiction, 41 percent of them were not wearing seat belts.
“Buckling up is simple and the most important safety measure you can take to protect yourself in a collision,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Seat belts save lives and prevent injuries. Do not put your own life at risk, or the life of your family or friends. Buckle up.”
Nationwide, more than half the drivers and passengers killed in collisions are not wearing seat belts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that seat belts saved the lives of 12,802 passenger vehicle occupants in 2014.
The MEP begins at 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27. During the MEP, CHP officers will educate motorists and enforce traffic safety laws throughout the state to ensure everyone has a safe holiday.
The CHP reminds motorists to travel at a speed that is safe for conditions, avoid driving distracted, and designate a non-drinking driver for the safety of everyone on the road. Last year during the Thanksgiving holiday, the CHP made more than 1,000 arrests for DUI. The public is encouraged to report unsafe or impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1.