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Slow Down For A Safe And Sane Independence Day

Many Californians are looking forward to a three-day weekend this year for Independence Day. Even though people are eager to travel and get together with family and friends, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is urging motorists to slow down and enjoy the holiday.

Beginning at 6:01 p.m. on Friday, July 2, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 5, the CHP will observe a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) focused on speed enforcement. To keep the roadways safe for everyone, all available officers will be watching for motorists who are distracted, speeding, or driving under the influence (DUI). CHP officers will also be on alert for aggressive driving and acts of road rage.

With many motorists expected on the roadways, patience will be key. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and avoid unsafe driving behavior such as tailgating. Remaining calm and courteous behind the wheel reduces your risk of an unpleasant encounter with other motorists. If you feel you are at risk, call 9-1-1.

“Saving lives is a priority for our officers,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “Motorists will help make everyone’s holiday safer on the road by observing the speed limits, avoiding distractions, staying sober, practicing patience, and being courteous to other drivers.”

During the 2020 Independence Day MEP, at least 36 people were killed in crashes on California roadways. The CHP also made 738 arrests for DUI of alcohol and/or drugs.

This year’s Independence Day MEP also coincides with a speed-related traffic safety effort that the CHP is participating in along with the Oregon State Police and the Washington State Patrol along Interstate 5, which passes through all three states. Officers in the three states will focus on speed violations along the entire stretch of Interstate 5.

“By getting the message out, we are hoping for voluntary compliance from motorists,” added Commissioner Ray. “However, officers will be looking for anyone who is speeding or driving impaired and posing a danger on the roadways.”

The most recent nationwide data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows one-fourth of traffic fatalities in 2018 were the result of speeding. In fatal crashes in 2018, nearly half (48 percent) of speeding drivers in passenger vehicles were not using seat belts at the time of the crash.