A CHP officer arrests a drunk driver. Courtesy CHP
A CHP officer arrests a drunk driver. Courtesy CHP

A Maximum Enforcement Period by the California Highway Patrol is under way in San Diego County this New Year’s weekend.

All available personnel are on duty through 11:59 p.m. Monday on the county’s freeways and streets in unincorporated areas, according to CHP officials. The Maximum Enforcement Period began Friday at 6:01 p.m.

The CHP will focus on impaired drivers, but officers will also watch for distracted driving, speeding, and seat belt violations, as well as motorists in need of assistance.

“Driving while impaired is a crime that seriously risks your safety and the safety of those around you,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “If you drive while impaired, you could get arrested or worse, be involved in a traffic collision that causes serious injury or death.”

During the New Year’s holiday last year, 27 people died in collisions on California roadways. In addition, CHP officers made more than 920 arrests for driving under the influence during the 78-hour New Year’s Maximum Enforcement Period.

During the holidays, the number of travelers on the roadways peaks and more drivers are impaired, according to the CHP.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during the December holidays involve drunk drivers, a 12 percent increase over the rest of the year.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.