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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The California Highway Patrol will conduct a “maximum enforcement period” on the lookout for drunk or drugged drivers over New Year’s Eve weekend, the CHP announced Thursday.

The extra patrols will begin at 6:01 p.m. Friday and run through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

In a press release, CHP officials said the new year “brings with it the anticipation of a fresh start, positive changes and healthy resolutions. What it should not bring are headlines of tragedies caused by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

“Ringing in the new year should be an exciting time filled with celebration and hope,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “To help keep the roadways safe through the holiday and beyond, our officers will be out in force to deter, detect and remove impaired drivers.”

The CHP said it will have all available personnel on patrol and conduct evaluations of suspected impaired drivers.

According to the CHP, 56 people were killed in crashes in California during the previous New Year’s Day period, and half of the vehicle occupants killed in the crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

Also last year, CHP officers made 709 arrests for driving under the influence throughout the state.

To bolster holiday traffic safety efforts, the CHP will again team up with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and 11 other Western state highway patrols — including Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming  — for the “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign.

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