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CHP's Gift to You This Christmas: Maximum Enforcement

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Does your sleigh have seatbelts? The California Highway Patrol is bestowing upon the people of the state the kind of gift that, theoretically, keeps on giving. Tonight at 6 p.m. they begin a period of "Maximum Enforcement," which means officers will be on the lookout for dangerous drivers of all varieties in spades until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday the 26th.

"The holidays are a time of celebration with family, friends and co-workers," the CHP greets motorists. "Often, those holiday festivities involve travel, whether it’s to a relative’s house, home from the office Christmas party, or even just a quick trip to the store for a last-minute purchase. Regardless of what brings you out on the roadways this year, know that you’re in good company with the California Highway Patrol (CHP)."

That sentiment is comforting, particularly for the majority of drivers who will buckle up, stick to the speed limit, and hand the keys over when they've had too much of Aunt Helen's kickin' Egg Nog. For their part, the CHP plans to have special enforcement teams out in addition to the regularly-scheduled officers to nab offenders and keep the roads safe.

Some sobering figures from the CHP: Last year during the CHP’s Christmas holiday enforcement effort, 22 people were killed in collisions statewide; among the vehicle occupants killed within CHP’s jurisdiction, more than half were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. CHP officers also accounted for 1,104 arrests made statewide for driving under the influence (DUI) during the 2009 Christmas MEP.