CHP steps up patrol of local roadways this Thanksgiving weekend - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

CHP steps up patrol of local roadways this Thanksgiving weekend

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CNS/CBS 8) - Motorists planning a trip over the Thanksgiving holiday risk fines and other penalties if they disregard basic traffic safety in the rush to reach their destination.

The California Highway Patrol's "maximum enforcement period," during which 80 percent of the agency's officers hit the streets, began at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continue until shortly before midnight on Sunday.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said officers will be making seat belt safety a top priority as part of a statewide "Click It or Ticket" campaign under way through next Monday.

The California Office of Traffic Safety disbursed more than $3 million in grants to the CHP and municipal police forces across the state to support overtime and extra patrols associated with the campaign.

"Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and quickest way to save a life," Farrow said.

California's safety belt compliance rate stands at 95 percent, but an estimated 1.5 million residents drive or ride in vehicles without wearing a seat belt, according to the OTS.

Farrow said CHP officers will be cracking down on drunken and drug-impaired drivers, as well.

"The roadways get crowded during the four-day weekend, and on the day after Thanksgiving with holiday shopping traffic congestion," the commissioner said. "The message is simple: Drive safe, sober and remember to buckle up."

During the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday enforcement campaign, personnel from the San Diego CHP office arrested 119 suspected DUI drivers -- 18 fewer than in the year before.

Three people were killed in traffic accidents in the San Diego area during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Statewide, 38 people died in highway traffic collisions, seven of whom were not wearing seat belts, according to the CHP.

 

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