California Highway Patrol officer
A California Highway Patrol officer issues a citation. Courtesy CHP

The California Highway Patrol arrested 66 people in San Diego County for drunken driving as of dawn Sunday, during its annual Thanksgiving “maximum enforcement period.”

CHP officers made the arrests between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Sunday in the agency’s jurisdiction in the county, which includes all freeways, as well as roads in unincorporated areas.

All available officers were to be deployed to catch drunken or drug- impaired drivers, speeders and other traffic violators during the holiday enforcement period.

The number of arrests in San Diego County is up from last year, when 52 people were arrested for drunken driving over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The CHP urged drivers and their passengers to wear seatbelts, as the law mandates.

“Whether you are driving across the street or across the country for your Thanksgiving gathering, it is imperative to wear your seatbelt,” CHP acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Wearing a seatbelt is essential every day of the year, but we do not want to have festivities ruined as a result of people not buckling up for their trip.”

The maximum enforcement period will coincide with the fifth annual nationwide “Interstate 40 Challenge: The Drive Toward Zero Fatalities,” a campaign from Barstow to North Carolina. The idea was to have a law enforcement officer actively patrolling every 20-mile stretches of Interstate 40 all weekend.

There were no fatalities in the California portion of Interstate 40 during last year’s challenge, according to the CHP.

The maximum enforcement period will conclude at 11:59 p.m. Sunday evening.

–City News Service