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By California Highway Patrol

As millions of motorists head out for the Thanksgiving holiday, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is prepared for one of the busiest travel weekends in America. Unfortunately, in the past, Thanksgiving has also been one of the deadlier holidays on our roadways. 

To help motorists arrive at their destinations safely, the CHP will implement a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) and deploy all available officers through the holiday weekend. The MEP begins at 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1. 

During the MEP, CHP officers will educate motorists and enforce traffic safety laws throughout the state to ensure everyone has a safe holiday. Officers will be actively looking for unsafe driving practices including impaired or distracted driving, unsafe speed and vehicle occupants who fail to buckle up. 

“Holiday travel can be stressful. By putting some simple safety measures in place, motorists can help keep themselves and others safe on the road this weekend,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Most important, before you head out, ensure everyone inside the vehicle has their seat belt on, and if there are children along for the ride, check that they are secure in the back seat in the appropriate child safety seat.” 

Not wearing a seat belt can be a fatal decision in a collision. According to the CHP’s MEP data, 59 people were killed in collisions in California during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

Among the 42 vehicle occupants killed in collisions within CHP jurisdiction, 43% of those, or 18 people, were not wearing a seat belt. Research continues to show that wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest things people can do to stay safe when traveling in a vehicle. 

Another way to help keep the roadways safe during the holidays is to designate a sober driver. During last Thanksgiving’s 102-hour MEP, CHP officers made 931 arrests for driving under the influence. The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of safety, service and security.