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CHP Plans Increased Patrols During Christmas Holiday

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- The California Highway Patrol is putting extra officers on the road on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in an effort to crack down on unsafe driving around the busy holiday travel period.

"Our number one goal is that everyone leaves home and makes it to their destination safely and then makes it back home safely," said Officer Ross Lee.

During its "maximum enforcement period," Officer Lee says the CHP will be looking for signs of drunk and distracted driving as well as speeding and tailgating. He says the choices drivers make during the busy holiday travel season can help them steer clear of avoidable crashes and collisions.

"Calling them accidents makes them sound unavoidable. That's why we call them collisions," explained Officer Lee.

Officer Lee said the Highway 17 corridor through the Santa Cruz Mountains is going a focus of their enforcement efforts. The winding mountain road can be especially treacherous in wet weather which is in the forecast for Christmas Day.

"I think it's extremely important to slow down, especially during this time of year when everybody seems to be in a really big hurry to get to the next place," said Jennifer Alexander.

Lee said the good news is the majority of crashes are avoidable if drivers simply slow down and avoid distractions.

"The majority of the time someone has make a decision either to drive while distracted or drive in excess of a safe speed for those conditions," said Lee.

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