SACRAMENTO -- Millions of Californians will travel the road this Thanksgiving holiday weekend to visit with family and friends. While this time of year is usually full of joy, it can be one of the deadliest on the roadway, and to help drivers avoid tragedies, the California Highway Patrol will have all available officers on patrol during what’s called the Thanksgiving Maximum Enforcement Period.
Although the number of fatalities in traffic collisions was down last year during Thanksgiving, 35 people died in wrecks in the state, CHP officials said. Of the 17 killed within CHP jurisdiction, 41% were not wearing seat belts.
“Buckling up is simple and the most important safety measure you can take to protect yourself in a collision,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Seat belts save lives and prevent injuries. Do not put your own life at risk, or the life of your family or friends. Buckle up.”
Nationwide, more than half of those killed in traffic collisions aren’t wearing seat belts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that seat belts saved 12,802 lives in 2014.
The Maximum Enforcement Period begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, and continues until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27.
The CHP reminds drivers to travel at safe speeds, avoid distracted driving, and designate a sober driver for the safety of others. Last year during the Thanskgiving weekend, the CHP alone arrested more than 1,000 Californians for DUI. The public is encouraged to report unsafe or possibly impaired drivers by calling 911.