[KHTS] – Officials with the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department are reminding residents of the importance of celebrating safely on New Year’s Eve.
“If the celebration plans include alcohol, designate a driver before the festivities begin,” according to a CHP statement. “The CHP will be ringing in the New Year on the roadway with motorists as part of a Maximum Enforcement Period, which begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday and continues through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.”
Local police departments are also hosting a campaign to discourage anyone from firing weapons into the air on New Year’s Eve.
“The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have joined forces to launch its Countywide and Citywide Gunfire Reduction Campaign,” according to officials.
“This campaign is designed to help reduce incidents of indiscriminate gunfire that have become a deadly new year’s tradition in the city and county,” officials said.
The Gunfire Reduction Campaign aims to advise the community that ringing in the New Year with gunfire will not be tolerated in the city and county of Los Angeles, officials said.
Discharging a firearm into the air is punishable by one year in state prison. Anyone arrested for discharging a firearm will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
And while safe, defensive driving is being stressed, it’s also an especially important time to remember to put on seat belts, the statement continued.
“In an effort to promote safety on California’s roadways we will have every available officer on patrol throughout the holiday travel period,” said 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.”
This holiday season, the CHP joins with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for their aggressive “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign.
In addition, the public is encouraged to call 9-1-1 if they suspect another driver of being under the influence.
Be prepared to provide the dispatcher with the location, make, model and license plate no. of the vehicle, and any other pertinent information.
“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.
Among the suggestions he offers are: Designate a sober driver, take a taxi or use public transportation.
“We want everyone to start the new year,” he said. “The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of safety, service and security to the people of California.”