With Fourth of July revelry set to begin, law enforcement agencies across the state will be on heightened alert beginning Wednesday night and continuing through the weekend to crack down on drunken and drug-impaired drivers.
The California Highway Patrol will begin a "maximum enforcement period'' at 6 p.m., continuing through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. All available officers will be on the streets searching for impaired motorists.
"Do not lose your freedom while celebrating our country's independence this weekend by making a bad choice,'' CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. "Driving impaired comes with consequences that can be deadly. Driving sober, fastening seat belts and avoiding distractions will help everyone stay safe on the roadway."
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During last year's one-day Fourth of July MEP, the CHP arrested 389 motorists on suspicion of DUI statewide, compared to 1,244 in the 2017 campaign, which spanned four days. According to the agency, 18 people were killed in collisions investigated by the CHP during the 2018 enforcement effort.
Southland law enforcement agencies will also have officers out in force, particularly on Thursday when Fourth of July parties will be in full swing.
"The consequences are abundantly clear, yet people still make the poor decision to drive after drinking,'' Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said. "Please be smart and make this Fourth of July holiday a fun and memorable one."
Pasadena will play host to thousands of revelers at its annual AmericaFest celebration at the Rose Bowl. People planning to drink over the holiday weekend were urged arrange for a designated driver or rely on public transit, taxis or ride-hailing services.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, meanwhile, will be offering its free Tipsy Tow service from 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Friday in 13 counties. The service officers motorists a free tow home up to seven miles.
The service is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver to the residence listed on the motorist's driver's license. For rides longer than seven miles, drivers will have to pay the normal rate charged by the two-truck operator.
To take advantage of the service, people should call 800-400-4222 and say, "I need a Tipsy Tow."