Drunk drivers make Labor Day weekend travel especially dangerous

Drunk drivers make Labor Day weekend travel especially dangerous

You probably need no reminder that we are just hours away from starting the long Labor Day weekend. Hopefully, you have both fun and relaxing activities planned. Most Americans view Labor Day weekend as the last chance to get out and enjoy the summer.

Unfortunately, this weekend is also dangerous for drivers, regardless of whether you're taking a road trip or just driving a few miles. Labor Day weekend typically brings an increase in the number of drunk drivers, and that means a higher probability of injurious and fatal motorcycle and car accidents. During this weekend last year, 49 people were killed in crashes on California roads.

The California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies are already participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. But starting tonight, the CHP will be entering a "Maximum Enforcement Period" that will continue through the end of the holiday weekend. You can expect to see more police officers patrolling the streets and highways of California.

As you drive this weekend, please take appropriate measures to protect yourself. It is a good idea to avoid driving at night, if possible. And when you do drive, please remember to always wear a seat belt. Of the 49 people killed last year in Labor Day weekend crashes, approximately 70 percent were not wearing seat belts.

If you are a motorcyclist, please be especially careful about wearing a helmet and riding defensively. This means slowing down and not taking chances at intersections. A significant number of motorcyclists get killed annually in accidents involving drivers turning left in cross traffic.

Most importantly, make sure to stay alcohol-free when behind the wheel this weekend. Even if you are below the legal blood-alcohol limit, just one or two drinks can nonetheless impair your driving. This makes it much harder to drive defensively if and when you encounter impaired drivers.

Hopefully, the CHP's Maximum Enforcement Period will take as many drunk drivers off the road as possible. That being said, we all need to be vigilant and safe behind the wheel this weekend.


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