As thousands of motorists hit the road for the official summer kickoff, the California Highway Patrol is stressing the importance of being safe on the roads.
“The Los Banos Area CHP wants to remind everyone to enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend this year, but most importantly, we want everyone to get home safely,” said officer Dean Emehiser.
CHP will have a maximum enforcement period from 6:01 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. today, with 80 percent of officerson patrol.
AAA is projecting the number of California travelers will be the highest since the start of the last recession.
Nearly 4.3 million Californians plan to travel 50 miles or more over the three-day weekend, up 1.8 percent from last year, according to AAA’s recent travel survey.
Last year, 40 people were killed statewide in collisions during Memorial Day weekend, according to the CHP. The number represents a 60 percent increase from the same period in 2012. Among those who died in the CHP’s jurisdiction, 40 percent were not wearing seat belts.
“Seat belts and child safety seats increase a person’s chance of surviving a collision, said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a news release.“Protect yourself and those that you love every trip, every time, and insist they buckle up.”
Emehiser said motorists should also designate a sober driver and be aware of motorists who may be driving impaired.
“If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call 911,” he said.
Last Memorial Day, the CHP made more than 1,200 arrests for driving under the influence.
Farrow advises motorists to leave early, allow time for traffic delays and avoid distractions while driving.
Memorial Day Weekend coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ongoing “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which continues through June 1.
Reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6563 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org The Modesto Bee contributed to this report.