CHP motorcycle officers
California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers. Courtesy CHP

The California Highway Patrol plans to intensify its enforcement in the San Diego area and statewide over the Memorial Day weekend, with a full staffing of officers on the lookout for motorists driving while intoxicated or otherwise making the roadways unsafe.

The CHP’s annual “maximum enforcement period” for the unofficial start-of-summer holiday will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and continue through 11:59 p.m. Monday, the state agency advised this week.

“This holiday, motorists can expect to see additional CHP officers patrolling California’s roadways,” CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee said. “Our primary focus will be to enhance public safety, deter unsafe driving behavior and, when necessary, take appropriate enforcement action.”

In addition to their efforts to get DUI offenders off the road, CHP personnel will be keeping an extra-sharp watch for traffic violations that often lead to serious injury or death, such as failure to wear a seat belt, speeding and distracted driving, according to the Highway Patrol.

“Keep yourself and others who are on the road safe by designating a sober driver or using a ride-share service,” Duryee said. “If you see or suspect an impaired driver, call 911 immediately. Your phone call may save someone’s life.”

The Sheriff’s Department, for its part, issued a simple warning: “If you are caught driving impaired, you will go to jail.”

“Driving under the influence doesn’t just mean alcohol,” the agency pointed out in a public statement. “It also means driving under the influence of prescription drugs or marijuana.”

CHP officers made nearly 900 DUI arrests statewide over last year’s Memorial Day weekend. During the three-day period, 45 people were killed in traffic crashes statewide — a nearly 30% increase from the comparable time span in 2021, the CHP reported.

Updated 3:13 p.m. May 26, 2023

–City News Service