For many, Thanksgiving is a time for getting together with friends and loved ones to give thanks. Knowing that the holidays can make for busy conditions on the roadways, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is prepared to keep traffic moving and motorists safe throughout the long weekend.
Thanksgiving is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the CHP. The Thanksgiving holiday reporting period begins Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. and runs through Sunday, Nov. 25 at 11:59 p.m.
"Motorists are less likely to encounter one of our officers by simply wearing their seat belt," said CHP commissioner Joe Farrow. "Not only does the law require everyone inside the vehicle to be properly secured, seat belts are your best line of defense in a collision."
Collisions increased significantly during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Tragically, 32 people lost their lives on California’s roadways due to a collision; this was a 52 percent increase from Thanksgiving 2010. Additionally, two-thirds of the people killed in collisions within CHP’s jurisdiction last year were not wearing a seat belt.
"Although the majority of motorists in California are buckling up every time they get into a vehicle, there is still a small portion of the motoring public that need this reminder," added commissioner Farrow. "By not wearing your seat belt, the risk of death or injury in a collision substantially increases."
The CHP would also like to remind motorists to avoid distracted driving, travel at a speed that is safe for conditions and also designate a non-drinking driver for the safety of everyone on the road. Last year during the Thanksgiving holiday, the CHP made 1,475 arrests for driving under the influence. The public is encouraged to report unsafe or impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated Nov. 16-25, as the national "Thanksgiving Holiday Travel, Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time."