SACRAMENTO–Californians love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food, and fireworks. All too often these celebrations and festivities turn tragic when someone decides to drink and drive a vehicle.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) wants you to have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day weekend, but also wants you to make safe and smart choices before getting behind the wheel.
The CHP will be out in full force during the holiday weekend in an effort to reduce roadway deaths and prevent injuries. The Independence Day Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) begins on July 3, at 6 p.m. and continues through Sunday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. All available officers throughout the state will be deployed during the MEP to focus enforcement on occupant restraints, speed violations, and those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“This is a time for celebration, not tragedy,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Celebrate this Independence Day by having fun but also by being responsible in the choices you make.”
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the Fourth of July holiday period over the last five years (from 2008 to 2012), 765 people lost their lives in collisions involving drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or more. These fatalities account for 40 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities over this same five-year period.
Last year during the Independence Day weekend in California 32 people were killed with 70 percent of those killed not wearing a seat belt. During that same time, more than 1,300 people were arrested by the CHP for driving under the influence.
“We want this year to be different, we want everyone to celebrate responsibly and get home safely,” added Commissioner Farrow. “Designate a sober driver before you head out to celebrate and do your part to make this a safe holiday for everyone on California’s roads.”