RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The California Highway Patrol today reminded motorists that Fourth of July celebrants need to drive sober and obey all traffic laws -- or face steep fines and possible jail time.
The CHP's Inland Empire division will be conducting a ``maximum enforcement period'' from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
``We want the public to enjoy their family, friends, food and fireworks,'' said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. ``However, that fun should not come at the expense of someone's personal safety and the safety of those on the road with them.''
During the MEP, all available officers hit the roads and highways to catch drunken drivers, speeders and other traffic violators.
During last year's Fourth of July MEP, the Riverside CHP office logged 8 DUI arrests and issued 238 citations for a variety of alleged infractions, including failure to use a hands-free device and failure to wear a safety belt. There were 14 non-fatal traffic collisions.
Statewide, there were 479 arrests, and 9 people killed in DUI-related crashes.
The Riverside County Avoid the 30 task force, named for the number of participating law enforcement agencies, is expected to conduct a DUI crackdown from Thursday to Sunday, as well, deploying saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints countywide to nab alcohol- and drug-impaired motorists.