VIDEO: California Highway Patrol steps up enforcement for Thanksgiving weekend

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — With thousands of people traveling over the long holiday weekend, the California Highway Patrol is stepping up efforts to keep drivers safe.

As it does during most holidays, the CHP will have extra officers on patrol for its maximum enforcement period, which runs through Sunday evening.

Starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening and running through midnight Monday, the CHP will have extra patrols on the highways looking for problems.

It’s their annual Thanksgiving maximum enforcement period.

“We are going to have quite a bit more CHP officers out in force, to enforce everything from (drunk driving) as well as distracted driving as well as any other type of reckless driving,” CHP Officer John Fransen said.

This year, they will be paying special attention to enforcing seatbelt laws.

Last Thanksgiving, 35 people died on the roadways.

“Of those 35, 41 percent were not wearing their seatbelts,” Fransen said. “That’s 17 family members who would probably be enjoying Thanksgiving this year.”

The CHP also says that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest drinking days of the year, and it’s even got its own nickname–Blackout Wednesday.

“During this time period, we have young adults that are out of school and maybe are inexperienced with drinking and choose to overdo it,” Fransen said.

The highway patrol is asking that party goers do not drink to excess and that they definitely don’t drive drunk.

“We are definitely out there looking specifically for people driving under the influence of alcohol and above the legal limit,” he said.

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