Slow down and arrive safely, CHP says

Independence Day is on a Monday this year, resulting in a three-day weekend for many and a likely increase in vehicles traveling California’s roadways. The California Highway Patrol is reminding motorists that driving too fast is not only illegal, but the leading cause of traffic fatalities.

To help slow down motorists and increase safe travel, the CHP will deploy extra patrol officers over the holiday weekend as part of a Maximum Enforcement Period. Beginning at 6:01 p.m. on Friday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 4, the CHP will observe the MEP with a special focus on speed enforcement. In addition to speeding violations, officers will be on the lookout for distracted and aggressive drivers, and motorists suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Speeding not only endangers your life, but the lives of everyone on the roadway,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Fill the holiday weekend with celebration and fun activities, not reckless choices that lead to tragedy.”

There were 43 people killed in crashes on California’s roadways during the 2021 Independence Day MEP, and more than one-third of the vehicle occupants who died within CHP jurisdiction were not wearing a seat belt. In addition, the CHP made 997 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs during the 78-hour holiday enforcement effort.

Last year’s stepped-up efforts to enforce speed limits during the Independence Day weekend, July 2-5, resulted in CHP officers issuing nearly 10,000 citations statewide.

“Speed is the number one factor in roadway crashes in California, causing one-third of the traffic-related deaths,” added Commissioner Ray.

A report issued in May 2022 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the number of people killed in speed-related crashes is on the rise nationwide. According to the NHTSA data, 11,780 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to speeding last year, a 5 percent increase over 2020.