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CHP Stepping Up Drunken-Driving Traffic Patrols for Holiday Week

If you choose to drink and drive this holiday season, those flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror won’t belong to a red-nosed reindeer, but to a California Highway Patrol officer’s vehicle.

In an effort to keep California’s roads safe, every available CHP officer will be out on the road during the upcoming Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period, which will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continue through midnight Dec. 28.

“Consider this a warning,” Santa Barbara Area CHP Capt. Jeff Sgobba said. “We will be out there taking a zero-tolerance approach and will arrest you if you are drinking and driving.”

CHP officers arrested 1,661 motorists statewide for driving under the influence during last year’s Christmas MEP. During that same time period, 43 people died in the 4,613 collisions that occurred in California. Among those killed, 18 lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes.

“Remember to designate a nondrinking driver before the celebrating begins, watch your speed and always wear your seatbelt,” Sgobba said.

Along with the increased enforcement effort, the CHP is asking motorists to help keep the state’s roadways safe by calling 9-1-1 to report a suspected drunken driver. Callers should be prepared to provide dispatchers a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.

“The holiday season is a time for family, friends and celebrations; unfortunately, it is also a time when we see too many alcohol-related highway fatalities,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Even if we save just one life by getting the message out, that is one life that has been spared.”

The CHP will conduct a similar maximum enforcement effort over the New Year’s Day holiday weekend, which will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and continue through midnight Jan. 4.

Officer Dan Barba is a public affairs officer for the California Highway Patrol-Santa Barbara Area.

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