CALIFORNIA, USA — California Highway Patrol plans to launch their maximum enforcement period Wednesday night. Their message is simple: don’t drink and drive.
“We are putting the word out there that we are going to be out there with as many officers as we can, and hopefully that will deter some people from making that decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink,” said Officer Ricardo Ortiz, of the California Highway Patrol.
One bad decision could change a life forever. Just last year, Fernando Renteria was celebrating the holidays with his 16-year-old daughter Angel. She lives in Galt but spent the holidays with her father down in Texas. However this Thanksgiving, she’s bedridden after being hit by an alleged DUI driver.
“I’m not able to communicate with her how I would love to communicate with her on a daily basis. Just so say, 'I love you' is painful for me because she can’t say it back. Think about that. Think about that with your families before you make a bad decision,” Renteria said.
“There are real world consequences, and unfortunately, we see all too often the devastating effects of what happens when people get behind the wheel when they are impaired,” added Officer Ortiz.
This year California Highway Patrol is starting their maximum enforcement period with extra patrols on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving.
“It’s a horrible time," said Lori Bergenstock, with Mother Against Drunk Driving. "In fact, Wednesday night is called 'blackout out Wednesday,' and it is one of the deadliest nights on the road.”
Bergenstock is also joining forces with CHP in an awareness campaign. People will notice red ribbons on CHP cruisers across the region.
“It’s called tie one on for safety," she said. "Those of us who are little bit older remember the slang term if you are going to drink alcohol. It’s called tie one on. MADD took that in 1986 and flipped around and had people put red ribbons on their antennas to remind them to designate a driver.”
It's a message Renteria hopes everyone will take to heart. He’s convinced it will save lives.
“For those that are thinking of enjoying the holidays, please do it safely. This isn’t nothing to play around with. My daughter is bedridden,” he said.
The maximum enforcement period starts tomorrow night and runs through the holiday weekend.