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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / STATEWIDE

CHP ups patrols for the holiday

November 28, 2008|Robert J. Lopez

The California Highway Patrol has deployed thousands of officers statewide to help keep the roads safe during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The agency's "maximum enforcement period" began at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will be in effect until midnight Sunday.

About 80% of the CHP's approximately 7,000 officers will be cruising California highways, as well as staffing sobriety checkpoints from Sacramento to San Diego, officials said.

"We're having every available officer on patrol," said Officer Rick Quintero, a CHP spokesman.

"We want to let the public know that we're going to enforce DUI laws, speed laws and seat belt laws."

During the first 12 hours of the enforcement period, Quintero said, the agency made 237 drunk driving arrests statewide, including 49 in Los Angeles County.

Five roadway fatalities were reported during that period.

For the same span last year, 318 drunk driving arrests were made across the state, including 80 in Los Angeles County. And there were eight fatalities, Quintero said.

"It's a good sign. The numbers are down," he said, adding that the weather may have kept drivers indoors. "I think the rain had a lot to do with it."

-- Robert J. Lopez

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