SACRAMENTO, Calif. November 19, 2018 – Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America, can also be one of the deadliest on the roadways.  To help motorists avoid tragedies, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will have all available officers on patrol during this Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP).

The MEP begins at 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 25.  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 seat belt violations, speed, distracted driving and, of course, signs of driving impairment.

Last year, the Automobile Club of Southern California estimated that 5.37 million Californians were planning to travel by motor vehicle this Thanksgiving weekend.  This year, that number is likely to increase.  Unfortunately, 2017 saw a 61 percent increase in fatalities during the same time period in 2016, from 31 to 50 people killed as a result of collisions within CHP’s jurisdiction.

Not wearing a seat belt can be a fatal decision in a collision.  According to the CHP’s 2017 Thanksgiving MEP data, among the 46 people killed in collisions within CHP jurisdiction, 59 percent of those, or 27 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.

“Whatever your destination this Thanksgiving, remember to buckle up and avoid distractions while driving and give yourself plenty of time for your trip so you and your passengers can arrive safely,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said.  “Remembering to wear your seat belt every day is a good practice, but take extra care over the long holiday to ensure you are able to enjoy the festivities with friends and family.”

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.