As we enter a busy week for travel, California Highway Patrol is sending out extra resources to help keep motorists safe this Thanksgiving.
Millions of people will be hitting the road and kicking off the holiday weekend starting Wednesday. That evening before Thanksgiving is increasingly becoming known as "Blackout Wednesday," getting its name from the excessive drinking that many people engage in when reunited with old friends and family.
To account for the extra dangers that come with it, the California Highway Patrol will be adding extra officers for a maximum enforcement period starting Wednesday and lasting through Sunday.
"We are actively looking for unsafe driving behaviors including impaired or distracted driving, unsafe speed, or vehicle occupants that are unrestrained," said Johnathan Gutierrez, CHP Santa Barbara County Public Information Officer.
During last year's maximum enforcement period, 42 people died on the roadways and 1,033 people were arrested for DUIs within California Highway Patrols jurisdiction.
In San Luis Obispo County, San Luis Obispo CHP recorded 10 crashes, three of which were DUI-related. Templeton CHP saw 16 crashes. Two were DUI-related and one of them was fatal. In Santa Barbara County, nine crashes were recorded, one of them being DUI-related.
"Anywhere from one-half to one-third of people that die on California roadways at least in the CHP jurisdiction are not wearing their seatbelts," Gutierrez added.
During the maximum enforcement period, which has 80% of all CHP officers patrolling the roadways, officers will be specifically focused on drivers and passengers who are not wearing their seatbelts.
CHP wants to emphasize that unsecured drivers and passengers also include children who need to be in safety seats. Children under the age of eight or under 4’9” tall must be secured in a car or booster seat.