California Highway Patrol officers will be out in force tomorrow night, cracking down on New Year's revelers who choose to drink and drive.
The CHP's "maximum enforcement period," during which all available personnel hit the streets to catch intoxicated motorists, speeders and other traffic violators, will get underway at 6 p.m. New Year's Eve and wrap up around 11:45 p.m. on the first day of 2014.
"In an effort to promote safety on California's roadways, we will have every available officer on patrol throughout the holiday travel period," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "With all the excitement and celebration, the holidays can be a particularly deadly time due to an increased number of impaired drivers on the roads."
A four-day MEP was conducted during New Year's weekend 2013. The Riverside-area CHP recorded 47 DUI-related arrests on local highways and roads throughout unincorporated communities in the greater metropolitan area at that time.
Statewide, the CHP netted more than 1,400 DUI suspects. Forty-one people died in collisions over the four-day period, though not all of those fatalities were the result of drunken driving, according to the agency.
"Our hope is that drivers will make responsible decisions ahead of time," Farrow said. "There are plenty of transportation alternatives to getting behind the wheel. Designate a sober driver, take a taxi, or use public transportation. We want everyone to start the New Year off right and safely."
The MEP will coincide with the Riverside County Avoid the 30 task force's end-of-year holiday crackdown, which began Dec. 13 and wraps up Wednesday night.
By Dec. 20, the Avoid campaign had racked up 250 DUI-related arrests, according to Riverside police Lt. Mark Rossi, the Avoid coordinator.
Final figures were expected to be released Thursday afternoon.
Both the Avoid and CHP anti-DUI operations are part of the nationwide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. --City News Service