Motorists encounter little trouble on holiday

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 1, 2012 

The holiday weekend was relatively safe on the thoroughfares surrounding Los Banos, according to a California Highway Patrol spokesman.

Matt Pinheiro, who works in the CHP's Los Banos office, said he could tell early in the week that there were going to be more people traveling by car during the Thanksgiving weekend.

He said his prediction turned out to be correct, but he does not credit increased traffic with what he observed to be a safe weekend.

"The more people on the roads, the bigger chance there is for things to go wrong," Pinheiro said.

Not many things went wrong near Los Banos, according to traffic statistics.

Pinheiro's office recorded three arrests for driving under the influence, six car crashes and no fatalities.

In 2011 there were also three DUI arrests and no fatalities, but there were 15 accidents.

Pinheiro said he gives motorists credit for keeping the numbers low.

"I attribute it to more consciousness of traffic safety and being more observant of their surroundings," he said.

Statewide DUI arrests were down from 1,475 in 2011 to 1,320 last weekend.

Deaths were up across the state, from 32 in 2011 to 44 in 2012.

CHP spokeswoman Erin Kotmatsubara said there was a disturbing trend in the deaths on state highways this past weekend.

"Of the 44 fatalities 10 were not wearing seat belts.

"We have to fix that. Seat belts save lives," she said.

Enterprise staff writer Corey Pride can be reached at 388-6563 or cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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