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CHP reports rise in arrests

Crime: Weekend’s citations rose more than 50 percent from last Memorial Day

Posted: June 1, 2010 10:29 p.m.
Updated: June 2, 2010 4:30 a.m.

California Highway Patrol officers arrested twice as many people in Santa Clarita for drunk driving this Memorial Day weekend compared to those arrested during last year’s long weekend.

In Santa Clarita, the CHP logged 28 alcohol-related arrests this past weekend as opposed to 17 the same time last year.

“I think the best thing about these numbers is that it’s bad there were more drunks on the road, however, we’re getting them off the road,” CHP spokesman John Lutz said of the period from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

“As well, we didn’t suffer any fatalities,” he added, noting there were also no highway deaths last Memorial Day weekend.

Highway fatalities were lower across the state as well, according to a press release by CHP information officer Jaime Coffee.

Memorial Day weekend 2010 saw a dramatic decrease from the previous year in the number of people killed on state roadways, according to the latest CHP state statistics.

Seventeen people were killed in collisions throughout the 78-hour “maximum-enforcement period,” which began May 25 at 6 p.m. and continued through Monday.

 CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow attributes the more than 62-percent decrease in fatalities from last year’s Memorial Day weekend to the increased enforcement and awareness.

 “It’s encouraging news, but the motoring public should remember that safety never takes a holiday,” said Commissioner Farrow in the written statement.

“Always wear your seat belt, watch your speed and never drink and drive.”

For the second year in a row, arrests by CHP officers during the Memorial Day weekend were up slightly from 1,465 in 2009 to 1,541 this year. In addition, one-third of the vehicle occupants killed in CHP jurisdiction were properly restrained at the time of the crash.

“Wearing a seat belt or using a child safety seat is not a choice, it’s the law,” added Commissioner Farrow. “Not only will it save you from a citation with a hefty fine, but it may save your life or the life of someone you love.”

The 2010 Click It or Ticket mobilization continues through Sunday.

This year, fines and fees have increased from $132 to $142 for first-time seat-belt violations for adults. For children under 16, the fine is now $445 for a first-time offense.



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