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As July 4th travelers hit the roads, so do extra CHP officers

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-04 01:10:05-04

With the holiday weekend ahead and lots of people planning to travel, extra officers will be out on our roads.

The California Highway Patrol’s Maximum Enforcement Period kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday and runs through midnight on Sunday.

That means if you get behind the wheel this weekend, chances are pretty good that you’ll see additional officers on the road.

“I’m coming from Long Beach going to Monterey,” said Jennifer Lankford.

Some travelers are spending hours in the car.

“11 hours on the road,” said True Cooper. “I had to stop and get a room at a motel.”

“I’m actually going from point A to point B to visit my sister and we're just going to stay in her house so it's definitely a social-distanced road trip but I mean, I am stopping here and there because I got the pooch with me,” Lankford said.

Others are experiencing the downside of road tripping along the way.

“Back-to-back traffic, actually,” Cooper explained.

For others, it’s been smooth sailing.

“I don't probably normally travel every Independence Day but it did seem a little lighter this morning,” Lankford said.

While traffic has eased up over the past few months, the CHP says they are running into more drivers breaking the speed limit, especially during Memorial Day weekend.

“What we saw is actually a big jump,” said Officer Mike Poelking of the CHP San Luis Obispo Area. “173% increase of citations being issued for drivers driving in excess of 100 miles per hour.”

To prevent that and other forms of dangerous driving, you can expect to see extra officers.

“The CHP deploys 80% of all available personnel out on the road for these increased traffic periods,” Officer Poelking said.

They’ll be on the lookout for drunk drivers, too. Last Independence Day weekend, CHP officers made upwards of 1,300 arrests for DUI.

While the pandemic isn’t necessarily putting the brakes on travel altogether, it’s key to be reminded to be vigilant and safe.

“I think it's important for people to keep getting out for their mental health but to do it responsibly,” Lankford said.

Last 4th of July weekend, the CHP says 36 people lost their lives in car crashes statewide.