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CHP cracking down on impaired driving this holiday

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 22:32:42-05

The California Highway Patrol will be enacting maximum enforcement for the entirety of the holiday weekend, which starts at 6:01 p.m. Wednesday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2015 to 2019, 135 people involved in fatal crashes on Thanksgiving-eve were alcohol-impaired.

They also say for the entire holiday weekend, 800 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes.

In an effort to combat the increase in crashes this week, CHP will be out in full force.

"Every major holiday we do what’s called a maximum enforcement period and what that is, is where we deploy all available officers to maintain the roadways, DUIs, distracted driving, things of that nature," explained Mike Poelking, the Public Information Officer for San Luis Obispo CHP.

Thanksgiving travel season is typically the number one travel holiday of the year.

Poelking says the more people on the road, the more people that are breaking the law.

For a lot of people, this is the first major holiday they are celebrating with friends and family since the pandemic began and a lot of the time, that involves alcohol, especially Wednesday night.

"Tonight (Wednesday) is what is commonly referred to as 'drinksgiving', a time when a lot of friends and family gather. It’s a homecoming for people," explained Doug Shupe, spokesperson for Southern California AAA.

A popular trend, sometimes referred to as Thanksgiving Eve, or “Blackout Wednesday,” highlights — and even encourages — the heavy consumption of alcohol on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Another statistic from NHTSA says during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday period, more than four times as many drivers involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired during nighttime hours than during the day.

Both AAA and CHP are urging people to make a plan before they start drinking this holiday.