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CHP crackdown saves lives on Labor Day weekend

Posted: September 9, 2009 6:09 p.m.
Updated: September 10, 2009 12:49 p.m.
 
SACRAMENTO - Traffic fatalities within the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) declined sharply during the most recent holiday weekend. The extended holiday weekend was a Maximum Enforcement Period, which meant every available CHP officer was out patrolling California' s roadways.

Statewide, 12 motorists were killed in collisions between 6 p.m. Friday, September 4 and midnight, Sunday September 7; the total is a sharp contrast to last year's 40 lives that were lost on the state's roadways. Among those killed this year in CHP jurisdiction, 75 percent were not wearing at seat belt at the time of the crash.

"Wearing a seat belt needs to become a habit for drivers and passengers alike," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Buckle up every trip, every time. It may save your life or the life of someone you love."

The death toll wasn't the only decrease noted by law enforcernent over the holiday weekend; arrests by CHP officers of motorists for driving under the influence (DUI) are down nearly 11 percent from the previous Labor Day weekend. CHP officers throughout the state arrested 1,417 impaired drivers during the 78 hour MEP; that figure is down from the 1,586 people arrested during the same time last year.

"Making an arrest is far easier than having to make a notification to the family member of someone whose life was cut short by a drunk or drugged driver," said Commissioner Farrow. "For every impaired motorist an officer removes from the roadway, it's potentially a life saved."

The CHP will participate in three more MEPs this year, including: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's weekend.

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