Traffic patrols beefed up for weekend

By Record Staff

Last year, the California Highway Patrol reported 36 traffic fatalities in California during Memorial Day weekend, and to prevent a vacation from becoming a tragedy this weekend, local police will be getting tough on speeders, drunken drivers and seat belt violators.

More patrol cars than usual will be on local roads this weekend due to the high volume of traffic expected, and police remind motorists to obey all laws and designate a sober driver.


As on every holiday weekend, the CHP in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties will boost the number of patrol cars and their hours on patrol.

The CHP's Maximum Enforcement Period in both counties will begin today at 6 p.m. and will end at midnight Monday.

In Santa Barbara County, extra officers will especially be targeting drunken drivers at recreational areas from Santa Barbara to Gaviota from 2-10 p.m. Saturday, said Sheriff's Deputy Win Smith, coordinator of the multi-agency “Avoid the 12” campaign.

“These beaches are remote, so people have to drive to get there,” Smith said in a written statement. “We've noticed that people go and drink, then have to drive home. It's an area of concern.”

Sobriety and driver's license checkpoints in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara are also set for Saturday night, he said, while the Lompoc Police Department plans to have saturation patrols.

The CHP is also reminding the public that anyone can join the effort to keep the roads safe by reporting drunken drivers.

“If you see someone who is driving erratically and you believe them to be (a) drunk driver, call 9-1-1,” said Lt. Matt Olson, commander of the Santa Maria CHP station.

When reporting such drivers, he added, provide as much of the following information as possible: Description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.

May 25, 2007