CHP steps up traffic enforcement during Memorial Day weekendDaily Press, Victorville, Calif. — Martin Estacio Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.
May 23-- May 23--As travel for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is expected to hit a record low, the California Highway Patrol said they will still be ramping up efforts to catch drivers that don't follow the rules.
During the Maximum Enforcement Period starting 6 p.m. Friday, the focus will be on seat belt usage, distracted driving and speeding, the CHP said.
The agency is also pairing up with the Nevada Highway Patrol in a joint operation targeting drivers on Interstate 15 from Baker to Stateline and onward.
According to the NHP, about 45,000 vehicles enter Nevada daily on the I-15 from Los Angeles, translating to 16 million vehicles a year.
A 26-mile stretch of road in the neighboring state from Primm, near the state's border, to St. Rose Parkway in Henderson is designated as a "Zero Tolerance" zone, meaning even minor traffic violators can be pulled over.
In 2019, 34 people were killed in traffic collisions in California during the Memorial Day enforcement period, according to the CHP.
Of the 21 who were killed that the agency responded to, 10 weren't wearing seat belts.
The CHP also arrested more than 1,000 people for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
This year, the American Automobile Association did not issue a Memorial Day Travel forecast and expected travel volume to be low as people stay at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Daily Press reported.
The CHP announced earlier this week that with less traffic, the number of crashes and DUI arrests had also declined.
According to the agency's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, or SWITRS, crashes saw a 75% decrease from March 19 to April 30, compared to last year, and a 88% reduction in the number of crash-related deaths.
In addition, the CHP arrested 4,223 suspected DUI drivers, compared to 7,224 in 2019.
The more open roads have been a temptation for for some, however.
During the same time period, the number of citations for speeding in excess of 100 miles mph jumped to 2,738, an increase of 46% from the year before.
CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley warned drivers in a statement that they were "easier to spot when they are on a nearly empty roadway."
"The rules still apply, no matter how little traffic there may be," he said. "Obey the speed limit, fasten your seat belt, drive sober, and put down your phone."
Martin Estacio may be reached at MEstacio@VVDailyPress.com or at 760-955-5358. Follow him on Twitter @DP_mestacio.
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