There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the holidays by relaxing with a drink or two. Everyone knows, however, that getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking Is not only against the law, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles reports that the California Highway Patrol made more than 700 DUI arrests over this year’s July 4th weekend. Even while state and city officials urged California residents to stay home because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, CHP officers made arrests of some 738 motorists who were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs from 6:01 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 5th.
Additionally, according to a tweet by the CHP on Monday, 36 people lost their lives on California roadways over the holiday weekend. An estimated 25% of those killed were not wearing their seatbelts at the time. Both the number of DUI arrests and fatalities was a substantial increase over the previous year. In 2019 there were 589 suspected DUI arrests and 12 deaths between July 3rd and July 5th.
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However, because last year’s July 4th holiday fell on a Thursday when extended through the weekend, the CHP made an additional 728 DUI arrests and recorded an additional 24 fatalities on California highways and roads in 2019. Because the holiday was extended an extra two days last year, the CHP says officers made 1317 arrests with a total of 36 fatalities.
A spokesperson for the CHP said in a statement that despite there being less traffic, there had been a marked increase in the number of citations issued for excessive speeding. Over the Memorial Day, holiday CHP officers cited 458 drivers for speeds over 100 miles per hour. This is an increase of 173% compared to last year.