CHP Cracking Down During the Holiday

The California Highway Patrol will begin a maximum enforcement period today at 6 p.m. in an attempt to curb drunken driving, speeding and other traffic offenses during the Fourth of July weekend.

The 54-hour operation which begins Friday will end Sunday at midnight, said California Highway Patrol Capt. Calvin Beard.

Last year, 41 people died on the state's roadways during the Independence Day weekend, and nearly half of those were not wearing a seatbelt. One motorcyclist who was killed was not wearing a helmet.

"Many of those deaths could have been easily avoided by taking a moment to buckle a seat belt," Beard said. "Proper safety equipment takes a moment to secure and can make all the difference between walking away from a crash, or being carried away on a stretcher."

Beard said 1,684 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the state during the Independence Day weekend.

"If you're going to drink, do not drive," Beard said. "And equally important, don't get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking. Plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver."

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