On this Fourth of July, Californians will observe the occasion with parties, picnics, and outdoor activities.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds motorists to be mindful of the speed limit, designate a non-drinking driver and always buckle up.
Independence Day is a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) for the CHP. Officers will monitor motorists who are a potential threat to themselves and others. The MEP begins on Tuesday, July 3, at 6 p.m. and runs through Wednesday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m.
"When celebrating Independence Day, the CHP wants you to be safe," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. "When driving be sure to leave plenty of time to get to your destination. Most importantly, before heading out, insist everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seat belt and children are secure in safety seats."
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Last year during the Independence Day MEP, 34 people were killed in traffic collisions in California. This was a significant increase from the 23 people who died in 2010, the last full year for which statistics are available. Sadly, many of those deaths may have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.
"It is alarming to know that more than 80 percent of the people who were killed in vehicle collisions over the Independence Day holiday last year may have survived had they taken the time to buckle up," Farrow said.
Driving under the influence is always a major concern for the CHP. Last year, over the Independence Day weekend, CHP officers made 1,562 arrests for driving under the influence. Motorists are reminded to designate a non-drinking driver before they celebrate to ensure everyone’s safety while on the road.